Almost every legal system in one way or another provides certain fundamental guarantees right from portrayal by a lawyer, right to legal process, that goes till evidence for proving the innocence of the accused and so on. Securing a fair trial is significant when it comes to dealing with the rights of the accused. Our constitution is an organic document and it keeps transforming(the idea of transformative constitutionalism is evident from recent landmark cases eg: decriminalizing section 377 of IPC, Sabrimala Judgment, Right to privacy case, adultery judgment, and so on) according to the society and this is roped with the concept of “Rule of Law”. Proving the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt is what the law actually requires and not to forget the accused not only enjoys rights that are provided in the constitution that are considered to be fundamental but also has specific rights when an investigation is taking place or when facing a trial for that matter. As far as the current era is concerned the rights available to the accused persons concerned are of considerable importance. The article sheds light on three different concepts under three different spheres such as the Indian Constitution, Criminal Law, and Private International Law through the general explanation of concepts such as “Rights of the accused persons”, “Guardianship” and “Juvenile Delinquency”.
PIVOTAL PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE:
To prove the charges framed against the accused in question beyond reasonable doubt lies with the prosecution and the responsibility in establishing and proving the guilt of the accused is said to be definite and this doesn’t change at all. These are considered to be the two pivotal principles of criminal justice and it has to be noted that the prosecution should not utilize the feebleness. In that context, one should not forget that for any defense lawyer this Latin maxim “Ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat” is a sacred aspiration. To simply put the famous expression “ Burden of proof” is crystal clear i.e the responsibility or the duty to establish the guilt of the person against whom the charges have been framed. The above-mentioned rule is very much enlightening to the fact that it actually prevents any kind of harassment that the accused may face when he/she has been unjustly framed and the maxim is definitely of considerable importance in the arena of criminal jurisprudence. Tracing the history would give a clear picture as to the origin of this maxim regarding the presumption of innocence. It is from the roman criminal law that this principle finds its origin but this can also be witnessed in Talmud as well which also clearly states that “ Every man until proved guilty is considered to be innocent”. In today's scenario, the rate of crimes in one way or another keeps elevating every day evidently, thus this principle is of considerable significance.
RIGHTS OF ACCUSED PERSONS:
The accused persons are bestowed with guarantees and rights by the Indian Constitution itself. Apart from this, we have the Code of Criminal Procedure which encompasses all procedural aspects in relation to the arrest of the person and bestows several rights to accused persons. Under the Indian Constitution itself, there are fundamental rights that the accused is entitled to one such example would be the “right to equality” i.e a person in spite of being an accused should be treated equally. Also what is considered to be an aspect of the right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution is the right in obtaining an unprejudiced representation in a criminal procedure. Likewise, article 20(2) which is a procedural guard (double jeopardy) can also be highlighted in this regard which forecasts that “ No Individual should be tried and penalized for the same offence more than once”. Next comes the Right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) which states that” No Individual against whom an accusation has been made out should be compelled to be a witness against himself”. Thus article 20(3) is obviously impunity given by the constitution to the accused persons and famous case law in this context would be Smt Selvi & Ors vs. the State Of Karnataka(This case was an impeccable battle between technology and humanity, also it lays emphasis on various important legal aspects such as substantive due process, privacy and self-incrimination) wherein the issue was whether or not the exacted administration of the challenging techniques( Involves Narco analysis, Brain Electrical Activation Profile(BEAP) Test, Polygraph examination) violates the article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution which bestows right against self-incrimination in India. In short, article 20, right from ex-post-facto law under article 20(1) to right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) bestows all safeguards in taking good care of the rights of persons who are under accusation of crimes and the persons mentioned here is inclusive of all citizens, even non-citizens and corporations. Other provisions that could be highlighted include the famous article 21 and article 22 of the Indian Constitution which provides for the right to life and protection against arrest and detention. When dealing with the provisions of the Code Of Criminal Procedure it is significant to start from section 50(1) of the code which provides that whoever is arrested should be well informed of the grounds based on which the arrest has been made thereof. As per section 50(1) of the code of criminal procedure the particulars of the offence or any other grounds on whose basis the arrest had been made has to be well informed and communicated to the person who had been arrested without warrant by the police officer.
Also under section 50(A) of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, it is brought out that the police officer as soon as the arrested person is brought within the police station is obliged to enlighten the arrested person with his rights provided under subsection(1). Next in the line is the right to have bail by the accused persons under the Code Of Criminal Procedure which means it is the responsibility of the police officer to notify any individual who had been arrested without a warrant and had been accused of a bailable offence that when the surety amount is paid the arrested person would be entitled to be released on bail. Not only the temperament of the accusations but also the gravity of the punishment should be taken into account by the court in the event of according bail provided the accusation necessitates a conviction and the temperament of evidence in aid of accusations. When dealing with the right to bail(the term bail has not been given any certain definition under the code of criminal procedure, it is often perceived as security in general) it is significant to reminisce section 167(2) of the Code Of Criminal Procedure wherein it lays emphasis on the time limit within which the concerned investigating agency is required to finish the investigation and the charge sheet has to be filed as the case may be. Ensuring the appearance of the accused person at the trial before the court is the pivotal object of bail and the provisions of the same have been dealt with between sections 436 to 439 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure.
GUARDIANSHIP IN A BIG PICTURE-PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW:
What has changed tremendously over the past decades is undoubtedly the role and the character of private International Law. With the steady rise of global and regional inter-connectedness, the practical importance of the discipline has grown at sundry levels. Under the purview of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act,1956 "minor" is considered to be a person who has not completed the age of eighteen years. And what is unexpectedly seen to be small in the country is the number of authorities on the conflict of laws with reference to the status of the parents and guardians towards their children and wards. The terms such as guardianship and child custody are seen to be the most significant which could elucidate clearly the relationship the parents have towards their children. The legal right of taking care of a child is what we call custody. When addressing issues related to custody one should also take into consideration parental rights, physical custody, etc. The fact that is clearly evident and is seen to be accepted is the religion-based distinction prevailing in the personal laws of the country. Child custody is bestowed to the parent in the perception of the best interests of the child. The concept of this guardianship can be diversified into three main parts as Child custody and Guardianship in Hindu law, child custody, and Guardianship in Muslim Law, child custody and guardianship in the West. The Hindu Minority and guardianship Act,1956 codified and even reformed the Hindu law of guardianship. It will be plausible and much convenient to discuss the subject matter under suitable sub-headings with the aid of the various provisions of the act. Under the purview of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act,1956, a minor is considered to be a person who has not completed the age of eighteen years. Guardians may be of the following 3 types: Natural guardians, Testamentary guardians, and Guardians appointed or declared by the court. A father unless he has been found unfit cannot be deprived of the natural guardianship of his minor children. The position of adopted children is on par with that of born children. Generally, conflicts have been witnessed between ordinary statute law and treaty law, and who should resolve it? Whether national court or an international court. It is noteworthy that the doctrine of posteriors priores which was approved by the Supreme court in the year 1870, is nothing but a rule of proximity through which both the treaty laws and the statute laws are given an approximately equal footing. It was in the guardianship case, the International Court Of Justice was faced with an apparent conflict between national law and a treaty.
UNCOVERING THE ISSUE OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY:
An unpredictably changing landscape of juvenile crimes and the voice of the public has indisputably produced a correlating reposition in the legal comeback to juvenile delinquency. What has incarcerated today the attention of the majority are the crimes perpetrated by the juveniles astonishingly. To put it simply Juvenile Delinquency(Both individual factors and family factors could be highlighted as the causes of juvenile delinquency) is nothing but any illicit behavior that is perpetrated by the juveniles(minors). In order to have a comprehensible idea as to what causes this delinquency among juveniles, it is remarkable to have intelligible information. Crime and Delinquency are the two terms that have had their explanation before the nineteenth century quoting the free will idea of human behavior as its foundation stone. Wistfully in today’s scenario in spite of having current uplifting trends, the crimes perpetrated by the juveniles remain to be higher than how it was earlier. How can such concern regarding the same be demonstrated is again a peculiar issue that should be scrutinized.
The three concepts explained above have their own significance in their respective field of law Legal awareness is very significant in today’s era. The concepts such as rights available o accused persons under the Indian Constitution & CRPC, the concept of Guardianship under the private International Law, and the idea of juvenile delinquency had been explained above in such a way that it enlightens one regarding a general idea of the above-explained concepts.
By Kanimozhi T, Law Student