Author : ARSHIA JAIN
In the 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure, “accused” was not defined anywhere. The accused is entitled to file an appeal, examination or review under criminal law. Torture in police custody is a grave offence in India and is punishable by a strict 5-year jail sentence. The right to free juridical assistance is a core right of free and fair trial. The Supreme Court recognized the right of a victim to a quick trial in a decision of 2008. The State is accountable for the preservation of the concept of natural justice in the criminal trial with basic legal aid. Excessive delay in completing criminal proceedings has a negative effect on the society.
Keywords: 1973 Code of criminal procedure, accused, torture, criminal law, police, Supreme Court, delay, criminal proceeding, society.
“All persons are equal before the law”
“All persons are equal before the court”
-Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Until it is shown to be guilty, the accused should be considered as innocent. The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 sets forth certain regulations and processes that investigative agencies and the criminal tribunals have to follow. The defendant is entitled to be safeguarded by a law enforcement organisation from any illegal and arbitrary detention. Police authorities have broad ability to arrest and investigate a person charged with a cognizable crime without filing him before the magistrate in accordance with criminal law.
Who is an accused under Criminal law?
In 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure, the term “accused” was not defined. In general, however, it may be characterised as the person accused of conflict of law or a breach of the law entrenched in criminal law. The accused is accountable for such activities and shall thereafter be punished, for the time being in effect, in accordance with the applicable provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860 or other relevant legislation. Furthermore, the person accused cannot be told the accused. Therefore, every citizen, save for his or her freedom, may be reduced according to the rules of law, has identical rights granted to him/her.
A criminal trial in India.
The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 substantially governs a criminal trial. There are also different laws concerning criminal proceedings under the Indian Evidences Act of 1882.
The criminal case law of India has evolved and includes several legal measures that assist both the victim and the offender in free and fair trial. The principle of a fair and swift trial is a criminal trial in India, which cannot harm the rights both of the accused and of the victim. The accused should have all the rights granted to appeal, review or revision under criminal law.
Legal position in India
In the case of the rights of the accused in a criminal trial, Indian laws are thoroughly established. The problem of a defendant’s rights is covered by several laws of criminal law and particular law. The purpose of the Act is not to punish the innocent person with the Court of Justice.
Protection under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Indian Penal code, 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
There are some safeguards in the 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure to safeguard people from custody torture. Section 41 of the Code gives the right to arrest any individual. Anyone who investigates the matter may be arrested by a policeman.
In the Andhra Pradesh v. Venugopal and Ors state (1963), the court decided that torture during police custody constituted a grave offence and penalised the criminals with severe five-year imprisonment. Section 161 of the Code states that the police officer shall record the declaration with all the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Indian Penal Code of Sections 330 and 331 specifies that accused are protected against needless detention harassment. If he utilises his power or abuses its power without necessity, police officer may be penalised. In accordance with the Indian Evidence Act, the defendant is likewise protected. Article 25 of the Act specifies that it is impossible to accept confession to the police in court.
Legal protection under the constitution of India
The Indian constitution is seen as a primary source of fundamental rights and laws that control the country’s rules and regulations. In order to give the accused a free and fair trial, without abusive use of authority, legal protection must be provided during the trial.
With regard to Kishore Singh Ravinder v. State of Rajasthan (1981), the Court found that the Indian Constitution, evidence and procedural laws consist of elaborate provisions on the legal protection of an accused person’s rights during the process and the protection of their human dignity and the benefits of a just, fair and impartial court proceeding.
Protection against ex-post facto Law
The accused individual is protected against ex-post-facto laws under Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution. The tribunal does not have the ability to take an action against the accused if he has committed an IPC violation or any other particular legislation.
In 1947 the defendant was penalised by imprisonment, fines in the case of Kedara Nath v. State of West Bengal (1954) The defendant committed a crime in 1947. The Law, however, revised in 1949 to penalise a fine proportionate to the sum of money it received when the offence was committed. This is not the case under the 1949 Amendment Act since it is regarded to have been ex-post facto law.
Protection against double jeopardy.
The accused person is protected from dual threat IN Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India. The dual danger theory says that if an offence is tried, a person cannot be tried before the court for the same reason or the same offence.
For Natarajan v. State (2005), the Supreme Court stated that “any person who has once been tried for and convicted of an offence by a competent court of law for such an offence is not liable for retrial for the same offence, or facts.”
Prohibition against self-incrimination.
The protection against self-incrimination or testimonial coercion is provided for under Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India. It declares that no one charged with any crime is obliged to be a witness.
The Supreme Court highlighted the following fundamentals in the case of M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra (1954). (a) It is a right of a person “accused of an offence” (b) Protection against “witness compulsion” and (c) Protect against the compulsion in relation to his “against himself” evidence.
Another instance in Nandini Satpathy v. P.L Dani (1978) reiterated that Article 20(3), which is prohibitive, goes back to the interrogatory phase which has not only been opened by the court. It extends and shields the accused from voluntary disclosure with relation to subsequent offences that remain or are foreseeable.
Legal aid to the accused in criminal Law.
Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution gives the right to gratuitous legal proceedings whenever the accused has no means to select or to seek a defence counsel before the Court of Justice for the sake of poverty or indigence. Under Article 21, which is explicitly stated in Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution, the State has a constitutional responsibility to provide the person accused with free legal help.
In the Sukh Das v. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh case (1986), the Supreme Court held that if the State had no means to engage a lawyer to promote free and fair trial before the Court and without compromising the principle of natural justice the State was obliged and responsible for providing free legal proceedings.
In the Khatri v. Bihar case (1981), the Supreme Court declared that the State has a right to give free legal assistance to the poor and impoverished to safeguard the fundamental human rights and the concept of natural justice by conducting a free and fair trial in the context of its constitutional duty. Free legal proceedings should be granted not just when the trial begins, but also when an accused is arrested when he first appears before the judge. Furthermore, the Court noted that the provision of free legal assistance to an accused individual is useless unless the authorities advise him of his rights. The top court therefore concluded that the judge and the court have the responsibility to notify a poor or impoverished person of their right to free state legal assistance.
Thus, the right to receive legal assistance is a fundamental right of the Court to ensure a free and just trial. The Constitution of India provides that justice for the accused shall be available throughout the criminal procedures. In order to safeguard the concept of natural justice, the State should offer basic legal assistance throughout the criminal proceedings.
In the Sheela Berse versus Maharashtra State (1987), the Supreme Court held that the police immediately inform the nearest Legal Aid committee that when a person is arrested by the police and locked up at the police station and the Legal Aid Committee immediately proceeds to provide legal aid to the person arrested at State price.
Concept of speedy trial.
The notion of a quick trial is founded on the “justice delayed is justice denied” premise the accused individual would be treated as a speedy trial as an inherent aspect of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The State as a defender of the constitution and its people’ basic rights is obliged to give the victim prompt justice.
The Supreme Court ruled that swift trials were the key input to a “reasonable, fair, fair and fair” process in the Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar case (1979). The State cannot prevent the accused from providing a prompt trial by citing budgetary or administrative difficulties.
The author therefore finds that the protection from illegal activities by the State is vital. In the proceedings before the Court of Justice, the CrPC, the IEA and the Indian constitution offer legal protection for the accused individual. Today the death and brutality of an accused person in the lockouts of the police has increased significantly. There have been many deaths in police custody, but the administration has not paid attention to it. Custodial deaths are not acceptable. Fair and reasonable investigations of the accused are also provided for the fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence. The State’s obligation is to safeguard India’s Constitution and modify the legislation in prima facie a manner that violates the rule of law.
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