Article -20 - Of The Indian Constitution

Updated: May 20

Under Indian Constitution art-20 has been defined in three ways, it has three clauses-

1- RULE AGAINST RETROSPECTIVE CRIMINAL LAW: Article- 20(1)

2- RULE AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY: Article 20(2)

3- RULE AGAINST SELF – INCRIMINATION: Article 20(3)

1- Rule against retrospective criminal law(Article-20(1))-

There was also the most important principle of criminal law is “no ex post facto law” criminal Law shall be made by the state. This means the law must be prospective only. If the law is to have effect from a previous date, that would be against this concept. This reason is the act is innocent act punishable with retrospective effect. This rule available in US is embodied in art- 20(1).


Art- 20(1) provides that no person should be convicted of any offence. Further, it states that no person should be subject to a greater penalty than that which might be inflicted for the offence at the time of the commission of the offence. But, in respect of procedure to be followed the Supreme Court has held that there is no right to the accused to any particular procedure to be followed. The reason is all that procedural law is prospective.


Kedar Nath v/s State of West Bengal -

Kedar was convicted for an offence committed in 1947. In addition, he has put a fine of Rs-50,0007 under Criminal law Amendment Act 1949. Held, the act of 1949 was ex post facto law and hence, could not be applied to Kedar Nath.


2)-Right against Double Jeopardy-

One basic principle of criminal law is that no person who has been accused of an offence shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. This principle contained in Art- 20(2) under the Indian Constitution and also in sec- 300 of Crpc.The origin of this is in the English Law Nemo dabet Bis vexari ( no one shall be vexed twice).this has two rules namely:


1)- Autrefois acquit (previous acquittal)

2)- Autrefois convict (previous conviction)

Above rules have been explained that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. The autrefois acquit means that the person has been acquitted on the same charge on which he is being prosecuted. Hence, art 20(2) bars the double punishment for the same offence.


ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT

Raj Narain Singh v/s Atmaram Govind anr.

According to the Supreme court, prosecution and punishment must be read in an objective sense. That is, if a person is prosecuted and punished, he should not be tried again.

EXCEPTION- sec- 300 has provided for four exceptions-

A)- Lack of Jurisdiction of the court.

B)- Distinct and separate offence than the tried.

C)- consequences of an act resulting in a different offence

Ex- A is charged by a magistrate of the second class with, and convicted by him of, theft of property from the person of B. A may subsequently be charged with, and tried for, robbery on the same facts.


3)- RIGHT AGAINST SELF INCRIMINATION- 20(3)-

Another fundamental principle of criminal law is the right against self- incrimination. This found its constitutional status in the 5th amendment in the U.S Constitution. This is the safeguard of innocent and against tyrannical prosecution.

Art-20(3)- no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. The accused cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself. Some conditions must be satisfied to get the benefits-

a)- The protection is given to only an accused. A person is accused when the FIR is filed against on him, or a complaint is made to a Magistrate.

b)- the protection is not available to a witness under this article.

c)- confession made under sec- 164 CrPC before the magistrate is valid, as there is no compulsion.

d)- compulsion is prohibited: compulsion means duress. it includes physical or mental torture or third-degree methods. Art- 20(3) safeguards for all innocent peoples.


NANDINI SAPATHY V/S P.L DHANI, AIR 1977 S.C 1025

The accused was called to police Station to answer and charge of corruption. She refused to answer and claimed protection under-art- 20(3). Held, accused is entitled to keep her mouth shut if the question were of such a nature as to implicate her in this or in any other offence.

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