This article is written by Sakshi Rustagi, BA-LLB student of Gitarattan International Business School.
Does an accused person also have certain rights? Yes, you read it right. An accused person in India also has rights provided under the Indian Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. An accused person also has certain fundamental rights which are recognized under the Indian Constitution. These rights are given to all, irrespective of the fact that a person is accused of a crime.
In India, rights to an accused person are given because a person is presumed to be innocent until found guilty. There’s a saying that, ‘Let hundreds go unpunished, but never punish an innocent person.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED IN INDIA?
The rights of accused persons are divided into different stages which are as follows:-
- The right is given to the persons who are arrested before their trial.
- The rights are given to the persons who are accused during their court trial.
- The rights are given to the persons who are arrested after their trial is over.
RIGHTS OF ARRESTED PERSON IN INDIA
- The arrested person can file an appeal in a higher court against the verdict of the lower court.
- The accused person has the right to have all his human rights behind the bars also. He should be treated benevolently by the authorities regulating the prison.
- The accused person has the right to meet his family members when he is in jail.
- The accused person has the right to solitary confinement also.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED IN INDIA?
Pre-Trial Rights of the Accused
Pre-trial rights are given to an accused to ensure their freedom and human rights. The pre-trial stage is the first stage of a trial and is of paramount importance.
In this stage, an FIR is filed by the virtue of which the policeman arrests a person, and afterward, his property is searched.
The rights given to the accused before trial are as follows:-
- Right to know the grounds of arrest- An accused has the right to know the grounds of arrest, the offense committed by him/her, and the charges filed as per section 50(1) of The Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC).
- Right against wrongful arrest/ Right to be taken before a Magistrate- As per sections 56 and 76 of the CrPC and article 22(2) of the Indian Constitution, the accused must be produced before a Judicial Magistrate within 24 hours. In India, before arresting the accused, a warrant has to be issued.
- Right to privacy and protection against unlawful searches- The police officials cannot search the property of the accused without a search warrant. They cannot violate the privacy of the accused on a mere presumption of an offense.
- Right against self-incrimination- As per article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, a person cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself.
- Right against double jeopardy- As per article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution, a person cannot be prosecuted and punished for the same offense more than once.
- The right to file bail- Every accused person has a right to file a bail application to be released from jail custody.
- Right to legal aid- Every accused person has a right to hire a lawyer to defend him/her and if he/she is not able to afford a lawyer, then the State must provide the accused with free legal aid to represent him/her in the court.
- Right to free and expeditious trial- Every accused in India has a right to a free and fair trial and it must be without any bias or prejudice.
RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED DURING TRIAL
In India, the accused persons have many rights during their trial in court. They are as follows:-
- The right to be present during the trial- As per section 273 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, all evidence and statements must be recorded in the presence of the accused or his criminal lawyer.
- Right to get copies of the document- The accused person has the right to receive copies of all the documents that are filed by the prosecutor in the court.
- Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty- The accused has the right to be considered innocent until his guilt is proven in the court based on evidence and statements by witnesses.
- The right to be present at the trial- The accused person has the right to be present during his trial in the court and have the attestation presented in front of him.
- Right to cross-examination- In criminal cases, the accused has the right to be cross-examined by the prosecutor to prove his/her guiltlessness.
POST-TRIAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED PERSON
The accused person gets some rights after his/her trial is over. The outcome of the trial determines the rights of the accused. This is divided into two parts.
- If the accused is acquitted by the court, then he has the right to get a copy of the judgment and the right to receive police protection.
- If the accused is declared to be guilty and is convicted by the court of trial, the major right available to him/her is that he/she has a right to appeal in the higher court. The accused can file n appeal against the order/judgment passed by the lower court.
The accused in India should be heard properly in the court of trial and should have equal rights to represent themselves. The rights provided are supported by the provisions given in The Constitution of India and The Code of Criminal Procedure.
The accused are also humans and should be subjected to humane treatment behind the bars also. The police officials should strictly follow this because custodial deaths and illegal arrest is major problem in India. Article 21 of the Constitution is infringed and also the basic human rights which are available under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hope you find this article helpful. If you have any suggestions or queries about the topic, feel free to write them down in the comment section below.