Rights of Accused, in Law the rights and privileges of a person accused of a crime, thus ensuring a fair trial. Initially, these rights were generally limited to the process itself, beginning in the 18th century, but in the second half of the 20th century, many countries began to extend it to pre-trial and post-trial periods.
All legal systems offer, at least on paper, guarantees that guarantee certain fundamental rights of the accused. These include the right to legal process, representation by a lawyer, testimony and evidence to prove his innocence and to oppose his accusers, as well as the absence of inappropriate searches and seizures, as well as freedom from double jeopardy.
The accused person, like all other citizens of the country, has all the rights, unless he has limited the liberty of the person according to the laws. The fundamental difference lies in the fact that charges have been laid against the accused for violations of the law or crimes committed in the country. The rights of the accused are of great importance today.
Since the Indian Constitution is tied to democracy and the rule of law, the concept of a free and fair trial is a constitutional commitment, for which the principle of criminal law is a fundamental principle of natural justice, treating even the accused or the accused guilty. The law of the land requires the prosecution to prosecute alone and prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused person also enjoys certain rights, the most fundamental of which are enshrined in the Indian Constitution. An accused has certain rights during an investigation or trial for a criminal offense against which he is charged. He should be protected against arbitrary or unlawful detention.
Provisions for Accused person under Indian Constitution law and Criminal Procedure Code
The two basic principles of criminal justice are that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against the accused, and that the duty to prove the guilt of the accused is absolute and never changes. The prosecution must stand on its own to make the guilt of the accused conclusive and positive, and they can not exploit the weaknesses. The intention of the legislator in establishing these principles was that hundreds of culprits could be left free, but even one innocent should not be punished.
The Indian Constitution itself gives accused person certain fundamental rights and guarantees that the authorities must respect during the criminal justice process. The Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the procedural aspects of the arrest of an accused and grants various rights to different accused.
Article 20 - Protection in respect of conviction for an offence
1) No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence
(2) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once
(3) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself
- Person arrested to be informed of grounds of Arrest
Article 22 (1) of the Constitution provides that a person arrested for an offence under ordinary law be informed as soon as may be the grounds of arrest.
According to Section 50(1) of Criminal Procedure Code, every police officer or other person arresting any person without warrant shall forthwith communicate to him full particulars of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest.
- Right to be defended by a Lawyer
It is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution. Article 22 (1) of the Constitution provides, inter alia, that no person who is arrested shall be denied the right to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
Section 303 of Criminal Procedure Code deals with the provisions relating to the Right of person against whom proceedings are instituted to be defended, it provides that any person accused of an offence before a criminal court, or against whom proceedings are instituted under this court, may of right be defended by a pleader of his choice. The right begins from the moment of arrest person arrested.
- To be taken before the Magistrate
Article 22 (2) of the Constitution provides that an arrested person must be taken to the Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
Section 56 of Criminal Procedure Code. A police officer making an arrest without warrant shall, without unnecessary delay and subject to the provisions herein contained as to bail, take or send the person arrested before a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or before the officer in charge of a police station.
- Information of arrest to a nominated person
Section 50-A of Criminal Procedure Code provides every police officer or other person making any arrest under this code shall forthwith give the information regarding such arrest and place where the arrested person is being held to any of his friends, relatives or such other persons as may be disclosed or nominated by the arrested person for the purpose of giving such information.
- Right to be released on bail in bailable offences
Section 50(2) of Criminal Procedure Code provides that where a police officer arrests without warrant any person other than a person accused of a non- bailable offence, he shall inform the person arrested that he is entitled to be released on bail and that he may arrange for sureties on his behalf.
- Right to free legal aid
Section 304(1) provides that where, in a trial before the Court of Session, the accused is not represented by a pleader, and where it appears to the Court that the accused has not sufficient means to engage a pleader, the Court shall assign a pleader for his defence at the expense of the State.
- Right of accused to know of the accusation
Section 218 of Criminal Procedure Code give the basic rule that for every distinct offence there shall be a separate charge.
- Interpretation of evidence to accused or his pleader
Section 279 of Criminal Procedure Code provides that whenever any evidence is given in a language not understood by the accused, and he is present in Court in person, it shall be interpreted to him in open Court in a language understood by him.
- Accused person as a competent witness
According to provisions of Section 315 of Criminal Procedure Code, the accused can be a competent witness for defence and can give evidence in disproof of the charges made against him or against his co-accused.
- Right to speedy trial
Section 437(6) of Criminal Procedure Code provides that if the accused is in detention and the trial is not completed within 60 days from the first date fixed for hearing he shall be released on bail.
- The Right of Appeal
An appeal is a complaint to a superior court of an injustice done or error committed by an inferior one, whose judgment or decision the court above is called upon to correct or reverse.
The Indian Constitution and various legal acts give each accused certain rights, so that his life as a prisoner is dignified and pleasant. Although these rights are essential for any convicted or an accused person to maintain and balance their spiritual status as a human being, the ineffectiveness of the Indian law enforcement system prevents the detainee from exercising these rights. However, the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission and various NGOs in the countries are working with considerable results for this cause. If these agencies continue to work at this rate, they can definitely make their mark. However, citizens need to know what rights they can exercise if they are unfortunately imprisoned. Freedom is an important feature of civilized society and should not be easily disobeyed. If the authorities want to apply the criminal law in a fair and equitable way, they must never give up the basic civil liberties that were acquired after a period of great sacrifice, because they are essential to the progress of the nation as a whole.