Rights of Arrested Person India ( Prisoners Rights )
Rights of Arrested Person/convict ( Prisoners Rights )
The Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, Supreme Court gave a new dimension to the the ”Right of Personal Liberty” as secured by Article 21 of the Constitution of India by giving recognition to the ”rights” of a person in prison / convict.
A convict, like any other person cannot be deprived of his life and personal liberty except by a procedure established by law. Article 21, has laid a new constitutional and prison jurisprudence.
The Rights and Protections ( Prisoners Rights ) are elaborated below:
1.Right to Silence
A suspect or convict cannot be held guilty merely because he maintained silence or did not answer questions put forth before him during the interrogation. Silence of a convict does not amount to confession of a crime. To ensure a reliable and truthful confession by a convict before a magistrate should be done with care and precaution. Interrogation should be free of any duress or inducement.
The ‘Right of Silence’ runs parallel to the concept of ‘Right of Self Incrimination’ as given under under Article 20 (3)
“No person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”.
The above statement gets its endorsement from a leading case law of Nandini Sathpathy vs P.L.Dani, judgement pronouncing the Right to Silence; no one can forcibly extract statements from the accused, who has the right to keep silent during the course of interrogation. Administrating of tests like narco-analysis – forcible intrusion into a person’s mind, nullifies the validity and legitimacy of the Right to Silence. In 2010 The Supreme court made narco-analysis, brain mapping and lie detector test as a violation of Article 20(3).
2.Right to know the grounds of Arrest
- Article 22(2) of the constitution has provided constitutional remedy to this Right, it says that – a arrested person shall not be detained in custody without informing him about the ground / reason of his arrest. Furthermore, he cannot be denied the right to consult or seek defense of a legal practitioner of his choice.
- Section 50(1) Cr.P.C. states that every police or other person arresting a person without warrant has to forthwith fully communicate the grounds for his arrest.
- Section 55 of the Cr.P.C states that if Secondly, when a subordinate officer is deputed by a senior police officer to arrest a person, the arrested person has to be notified about his arrest in a written order given by the senior police official clearly specifying the the offence and grounds of arrest.
3.Information Regarding The Right To Be Released On Bail
Section 50(2) Cr.P.C. provides that a police officer has to inform a person about the arrangement of bail, only if the person has committed a bailable offence. The information for the arrangement of bail certainly helps a person, not knowing about his right to bail in the case of bailable offences.
4.Rights of person before Judicial authority / Magistrate
An arrested has to be bought before a judicial magistrate without any unnecessary delay. The presentation of an arrested person before judicial authority / magistrate has been elaborated in Sections 56 and 76 of the Cr.P.C as under:
Sec. 56, Person arrested to be taken before Magistrate or officer in charge of police station. A police officer making an arrest without warrant shall, without unnecessary delay and subject to the provisions of bail, produce the arrested person before a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or before the officer in charge of a police station.
Sec .76, Person arrested has to be brought before the Magistrate Court without any delay. This goes to say that a police officer or other person executing a warrant of arrest shall produce the arrest person within a period of 24 hours, excluding the time of travel from place of arrest to magistrate court. Failure to produce a person within the reasonable time amounts to delay.
5.Right of the period of detention
Whether a person is arrested with or without warrant, he has to be produced before a judicial magistrate within a period of 24 hours.
Sec 57 provides that a person arrested cannot be detained for more than twenty-four hours. A police officer shall not detain a person arrested without warrant for a longer period than what is reasonable. Moreover, this period in the absence of a special order of a Magistrate under section 167, should not exceed twenty-four hours excluding the time of travel, from place of arrest to magistrates court.
If a police officer fails to produce an arrested person before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest, he shall be held guilty of wrongful detention.
6.Right At Trial:
Rights at Trial envisages the i)Right to a Fair Trial, ii)Right to a speedy trial.
i)Right to a fair trial
The Constitution under Article 14 guarantees the right to equality before the law. The Code of Criminal Procedure also provides that for a trial to be fair, it must be an open court trial. This provision is designed to ensure that convictions are not obtained in secret.
Every accused is entitled to be informed by the court before taking the evidence, that he entitled to have his case tried by another court. If the accused subsequently desires for transfer of his case to another court the same must be transferred. However, the accused has no right to select or determine the court of trial.
ii)Right to speedy trial
The Constitution provides an accused the right to a speedy trial. Although this right is not explicitly stated in the constitution, it has been interpreted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the judgment of Hussainara Khatoon. This judgment mandates that an investigation in trial should be held “as expeditiously as possible”.
In all summons trials (cases where the maximum punishment is two years imprisonment) once the accused has been arrested, the investigation for the trial must be completed within six months, unless the Magistrate believes that there is a cause to extend the investigation.
7.Right to Consult a Legal Practitioner
- Article 22(1) of the Constitution provides that no person who is arrested shall be denied the right to
consult a legal practitioner of his choice.The right of an arrested person to consult his lawyer begins from the moment of his arrest.
- Section 50(3) also provides that any person against whom proceedings are instituted under the code may of
right be defended by a pleader of his choice. The consultation with the lawyer may be in the presence of
police officer but not within his hearing.
- Further, as has been held by the Supreme Court that ‘State’ is under a constitutional mandate (implicit in article 21) to provide free legal aid to an indigent accused person, and the constitutional obligation to provide free legal aid does not arise only when the trial commences but also attaches when the accused is for the first time produced before the magistrate, as also when remanded from time to time.
- It has been held by the Supreme Court that non- compliance with this requirement and failure to inform the accused of this right would vitiate the trial.
8.Right to Free Legal Aid
- In Khatri(II) v. State of Bihar, the Supreme Court has held that the state is under a constitutional mandate (implicit in Article 21) to provide free legal aid to an indigent accused person, an and the constitutional obligation to provide free legal aid does not arise only when the trial commences but also attaches when the accused is for the first time produced before the magistrate, as also when remanded from time to time.
- However this constitutional right of an indigent accused to get free legal aid may prove to be illusory unless he is promptly and duly informed about it by the court when he is produced before it. The Supreme Court has therefore cast a duty on all magistrates and courts to inform the indigent accused about his right to get free legal aid.
- The apex court has gone a step further in Suk Das v. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh, saying, constitutional right cannot be denied if the accused failed to apply for it. It makes it 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.
9.Right to examination by a Medical Practitioner
Section 54(1) provides for examination of arrested person by medical practitioner at the request of the arrested person.
10.Right to Evidence
- The accused even has right to produce witness in his defense in case of police report or private
- Section 138 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 gives accused has a right to confront only witnesses. This right ensures that the accused has the opportunity for cross-examination of the adverse witness.
- Section 33 of Indian Evidence Act provides for, a testimonial statement of the witness dispensed by issuing commission, in absence of witness during the trial.
- Any statement or confession made before a magistrate by the accused at his free will is record.
- Section 25, Evidence Act excludes arrested persons confession statements made to a police.
The judiciary has taken a new dimension to secure the rights of an arrested person,convict,accused,person in prison ( prisoners rights ) to greater extents, one should therefore have knowledge of the rights thus given.