Aquib Ul Ahad Wani
Laws in India presume that a person accused of an offence is innocent until the contrary is proven. It is well known that let100 guilty persons go unpunished but a single innocent must not be punished for no offence. The rights of an accused person have been protected not only under the Constitution of India but also under various laws for the time being in force. Top Supreme Court lawyers have been found working for the rights of the prisoners, accused and offenders since a long time. The reason being that even convicts accused and offenders are human beings and are therefore entitled to certain basic rights which cannot be taken away in any case.
The basic rights and protections guaranteed to every accused person are:
Right To Know The Grounds of Arrest: As per Section 50(1) of Cr.P.C., where a person arrested without warrant is entitled to know the full particulars of offence for which he is being arrested and where a person is arrested with warrant, he must be notified the particulars of such warrant, or even show such warrant if needed. Sec. 75 of Cr.P.C.
• Right to have Bail: Any person who is arrested without a warrant and is accused of a bailable offence has to be informed by the police officer that he is entitled to be released on bail on payment of the surety amount.
•Right to Be Taken before a Magistrate without Delay: Irrespective of the fact, that whether the arrest was made with or without a warrant, the person who is making such arrest has to bring the arrested person before a judicial officer without any unnecessary delay. By Sec 56 and 76 of the code, an accused has to be produced before a magistrate within the 24 hrs.
•Right to free, fair and speedy trial: As justice delayed is justice denied, the concept of speedy and expeditious trial was introduced by which the accused person is given fair and impartial justice quickly.
•Right to Consult a Legal Practitioner: This has been enshrined as a fundamental right in Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India, which cannot be denied in any case. Section 50(3) of the Code also lays down that the person against whom proceedings are initiated has a right to be defended by a pleader of his choice.
•Right of Free Legal Aid: A duty is imposed on all magistrates and courts to inform the indigent accused of his right to get free legal aid.It is clear that unless refused, failure to provide free legal aid to an indigent accused would vitiate the trial entailing setting aside of the conviction and sentence.
•Right to be examined by a Medical Practitioner: Section 54 of Cr.P.C. enumerates this right. If requested by the arrested person so to do direct the examination of the body of such person by a registered medical practitioner unless the Magistrate considers that the request is made for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice.
•Right to privacy and protection against unlawful searches: The police officials cannot violate the privacy of the accused on a mere presumption of an offence. The property of an accused cannot be searched by the police without a search warrant.
•Right to be present during trial: Section 273 of the Code provides that all evidence and statements must be recorded in presence of the accused or his criminal lawyer.
•Right to get Copies of Documents: The accused has the right to receive copies of all the documents filed by the prosecutor in relation to the case.
•Right to be present at the trial: The accused person has the right to be present during his trial and have testimony presented in front of him.
Right to cross-examination: The accused has the right to be cross-examined by the prosecutor to prove his innocence.
Right to Appeal: The rights of arrested persons include the right to file an appeal against his conviction in a higher court.
(The author is a student at Law Department Kashmir University.Views are his own)