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Home > Know Your Rights > Right to Protection in case of conviction
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Q1.  What is meant by right to protection in respect of conviction for offences?

A1.  Constitution of India provides to every person accused of an offence, the fundamental right to protection against conviction. The main purpose of this right is to give a fair opportunity to the accused person to save himself and to protect him from any redundant law.


Q2.  What are the main features of the right to protection against conviction for offences?

A2.  Right to protection against conviction for offences has three main features.

1.  It seeks to ensure that no person is punished under a law that is not in force at the time of commission of the offence and is not given a punishment that is more than the punishment prescribed for that offence at the time of commission of the offence.

2.  It aims at ensuring that no person is convicted of the same offence twice.

3.  It gives the right to the accused not to be a witness against himself.


Q3.  Can a person be convicted of the same offence twice?

A3.  No, under right to protection against conviction for offences, a person cannot be convicted for the same offence twice. Convicting a person twice for the same offence is called Double Jeopardy. Double jeopardy is strictly prohibited in India by this fundamental right.


Q4.  Does this mean that if a person commits theft at two places, he can be convicted once as the offence is one?

A4.  No, it means that a person who commits theft at one place cannot be tried a second time for the same event. But, he will surely be convicted if he commits theft at another place. For Example, if Mr. X commits theft at Mr. A’s house at 11p.m. on 31st June 2012 and on the same day he commits theft at Mr. B’s house at 12 p.m. This means Mr. X has committed two different offences and he is liable to be convicted separately for both of them.


Q5.  What is meant by the right of the accused not be a witness against himself?

A5.  Right to protection in case of conviction includes within it the right against self-incrimination. This means that no person can be pressurized to be a witness against himself. He cannot be coerced to give statement against himself. Hence, although an accused person may make a voluntary statement against himself, a judge, before receiving such statement from him is required to caution him that he is not obliged to say anything and that what he does say may be given in evidence against himself. Evidence of a confession by the accused is not admissible unless it is proved that such confession was free and voluntary.


Q6.  Why such right is provided to the accused? Is it not in the interest of society to get the truth from him, either forcefully or by any other method?

A6.  The main purpose behind giving this right to the accused is that according to law every accused is presumed to be innocent and it is for the person accusing him to establish his guilt and prove that the accused has committed that crime. Also, the right seeks to ensure that the accused need not make any statement against his will. Every person accused of a crime has a Right to remain silent.


Q7.  But, force and other methods like Narco analysis are used by investigating agencies to get the truth from the accused. Don’t they violate this right then?

A7.  Narco Analysis is a scientific method, which is also known as Lie Detector test. It makes the accused semi-unconscious with the use of machines, so that he cannot tell a lie consciously. Under the law, any statement made by the accused before the Police is not considered as evidence in the court. Indian Courts have so far refused to admit the Narco Analysis as evidence, but Narco Analysis is being carried out by the investigators. The reason is that although confession made to the police or in the presence of police is not admissible in Courts, the information is admissible by which an instrument or object(eg. The weapon used to commit crime) used in commission of crime is discovered. However, the debate on whether to allow Narco Analysis on accused persons is still going on in the Judiciary.

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