Rights of Arrested Person in India

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“Innocent until proven guilty,” the legal system of India depends on this statement ensuring that no wrong is done to an innocent person. Despite an individual being accused of a criminal offence, the person should be treated as a human being. The Indian Constitution illustrates certain rights to the arrested person to protect them from unlawful detention. Mostly, the laws related to arrest are defined under the various Sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 but the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 also includes certain scenarios or cases related to the arrest. The procedures followed for Arrest under CrPC, 1973 and Arrest under CPC, 1908 are different but one similar aspect is to protect an innocent from being unlawfully detained. Hence, it provides certain rights for an arrested person. In this article, we will delve into the important rights of arrested person in India along with related case laws. 

Rights of Arrested Person in India

Right to be Silent

The right to remain silent during the investigation process or trials or proceedings helps the arrested person avoid self-incrimination. The primary principle of this right is to ensure that no individual is forced to provide evidence that can be used against them in legal proceedings. It has been mentioned under Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India, “No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.” 

Right to Know the Grounds of Arrest

In Indian law, the right to be informed about the grounds of an individual’s arrest is a basic right given to the arrested person. This right is available to every Indian citizen who is being arrested and it is the duty of the authorized personnel, a police officer, to tell the arrested person about the grounds of their arrest. Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India states that “No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.” If an arrested person has timely and appropriate knowledge about the reason or the grounds of arrest then he/she can move to the proper court for bail.

According to Section 50(1) of CrPC states that “Every police officer or other person arresting any person without warrant shall forthwith communicate to him full particulars of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest.” In short, it ensures that every individual is aware of the charge against them which further helps them understand the reason for the arrest. Moreover, a police officer or other person making the arrest should inform the arrest and place where the arrested person is being held to his friends or relatives or any person nominated by the arrested person for giving such information, as defined under Section 50(A) CrPC. Along with this, Section 55 of the CrPC illustrates the ‘procedure when police officer deputes subordinate to arrest without warrant’. 

In case, an arrest is made under a warrant then as per Section 75 of CrPC, a person who is executing a warrant of arrest should notify the substances to arrested person as well as should show him the warrant if required. The grounds for the arrest should be communicated to arrested persons in a language understood by them. 

Right to Free Legal Aid

Section 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, ensures legal aid to the accused at State expense in certain types of cases. It illustrates that “Where, in a trial before the Court of Session, the accused is not represented by a pleader, and where it appears to the Court that the accused has not sufficient means to engage a pleader, the Court shall assign a pleader for his defence at the expense of the State.” 

Right to be taken before a Magistrate without Delay

The accused person has another legal right under Indian law which is, the right to be taken before a Magistrate within 24 hours without delay. Despite the fact that whether the arrest was made with or without a warrant, the arrested person should be taken before a judicial officer without any delay. Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India states that “Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.” 

This right of the arrested person is mentioned under Section 56 of CrPC, “A police officer making an arrest without warrant shall, without unnecessary delay and subject to the provisions herein contained as to bail, take or send the person arrested before a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the case, or before the officer in charge of a police station.” Also, a person arrested should not be detained for more than 24 hours, Section 57. Moreover, Section 76 of CrPC, 1973, illustrates that any person executing a warrant of arrest (such as police officers) should bring the person arrested before the Court without unnecessary delay.

Right to be Released on Bail

Every person to be arrested has the right to be released on bail on payment of the surety amount, in case of a bailable offence, and the same should be informed to him by the police officers. It is not an absolute right and mainly depends on factors such as the severity and nature of the offence, potential threat to society on release, and the likelihood of the arrested person fleeing away. 

Right to a Fair Trial/ Speedy Trial

To prevail over the principle of Natural Justice, the accused person is entitled to the right to a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is not mentioned under the provisions of CrPC but the right to equality has been mentioned in the Supreme law of land, Indian Constitution. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that every individual is equal in the eyes of the law. Along with this, in a Supreme Court judgment, it has been made mandatory to complete the investigation in the trial as soon as possible.

Right to consult a Legal Practitioner

The arrested person has a right to consult a legal practitioner or a legal advisor which has been identified under Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India. As per Section 303 of the CrPC, “Any person accused of an offence before a Criminal Court, or against whom proceedings are instituted under this Code, may of right be defended by a pleader of his choice.” This right helps the accused person to safeguard his interests.

Right to be examined by the Medical Practitioner

Under Section 54 of the Indian Constitution, any arrested person has the right to be examined by a medical officer in the service of the Central or State Government. It further states that in case the medical officer is not available then the accused person is examined by a registered medical practitioner soon after the arrest is made. Provided that if the arrested person is a female, the examination of the body should be made only by or under the supervision of a female medical officer, and in case the female medical officer is not available then the examination should be done by a female registered medical practitioner.

Related Case Laws

1. Does the Indian legal system provide the rights of arrested person?
2. Is there any right related to a fair and speedy trial for an arrested person?