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Written By: Manishek Kumar
When we talk about right of accused, the most important thing is to know who are regarded as accused. The answer is when some person gets indulged into some acts which are punishable by law and after trial when the charges regarding the misdemeanour gets proved on that person, then that person is regarded as the accused. Basically, behind the concept of Right of Accused the fundamental idea is of humanity as behind every accused there is a human who has right to be treated as human irrespective of the fact that such person is a criminal. Throughout the whole world, there is a culture to treat everyone with humanity and even accused should be treated as human and therefore, it is expected from all the nations to follow the Reformative Theory of Punishment to the extent they can impose in their respective Judicial System. In order to do so, various of International Statute are also made for the guidance. Following this idea, India has also provided so many rights to the accused which are as follows:-
1) Equality Before the law
According to Article 14 of Indian Constitution, state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Basically, the said article contends that everyone is equal before the law and must have equal protection of law and there is end of all type of privileges before the law. By making this article the fundamental right, state protected the right of individual against every element of Government or state. In the case of Maneka Gandhi vs. UOI [AIR 1978 SC], Supreme Court held that “equality is dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and cannot be imprisoned with traditional limits”.
2) Protection against arbitrary or unlawful arrest
Under Article 22 of Indian Constitution, accused are given some rights regarding arrest; the very first one is “Right to be Informed” as soon as possible of ground of arrest, secondly, “Right to Consult” and to be represented by the lawyer of his own choice before magistrate within 24 hours.
3) Right to speedy trial
In the case of Hussainara Khatoon vs. Home Sec, St. of Bihar [AIR 1979 SC]
Supreme Court held that “right to speedy trial” is one of the Fundamental Rights of the citizen implicit in the guarantee of life and personal liberty enshrined in Art 21 of Indian constitution.
4) Right to Fair Trial
In the case of Rattiram vs. State of M.P [AIR2012 SC]
Supreme Court held that an Accused has right to fair trial and regarded fair trial as the heart of Criminal Jurisprudence, and in way, an important facet of democratic polity.
5) Protection against Ex Post Facto Law
Art 20(1) of Indian Constitution says that “no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offences. It says that no person shall be prosecuted for an offence which he or she has done earlier, they shall be punished for the offence they have done at the present.
6) Protection against Double Jeopardy
Art 20(2) of Indian Constitution says that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
7) Prohibition against self-incrimination
Art 20(3) of Indian Constitution says that no person accused of any offences shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Thus Art 20(3) embodies the general principles of English and American jurisprudence that no one shall be compelled to give testimony against him.
8) Presumption of Innocence
Under Fair Trial, it is the right of every individual to be assumed as innocent until the alleged charges are proved on him. As per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art 11, it is ruled to assume a person innocent until the guilt is proved.
9) Right to free legal Aid
According to Art. 39-A of Indian Constitution there is provision to provide free legal aid to the prisoners or the persons who are not economically capable of hiring legal practitioners for their right enforcement. Through Art 39-A the state shall secure the objective of social justice for all through suitable legislation and schemes. Art 14(3)(d) of the international covenant on civil and political Rights and much other international law supports this idea.
10) Right against inhuman treatment by the Police
In Kishore Singh vs. State of Rajasthan [AIR 1981 SC]
In the case, it was held that the use of “third degree” by police is violative to Article 21 and directed the government to take necessary steps to educate the police so as to inculcate a respect for the Human person and at the same time declared inhuman treatment with prisoners in Jail as the action against the Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
There are several of provisions remaining which are not cited in this article such as Code of Criminal Procedure, CPC and many more statute that have provisions for the accused in it for which an accused can claim anytime. The main purpose behind the idea is to treat an accused as a criminal as well as a human. It is also followed in order to spread the idea of humanity and reformative Punishment so that criminal can also relive their life at once peacefully if they want it.