The legal system in India is established on the platform of “innocent till proven guilty”. An unlawful arrest of an individual can be a violation of Article- 21 of the Indian Constitution that states, “no human shall be denied of his right to life and personal liberty except if established by law” which means that the process must be fair, clear and not arbitrarily or oppressive
What are the different rights of an arrested person?
1 – Right to know the grounds of arrest
Article- 22(1) of the Indian Constitution stipulates that no police official can arrest any individual without informing the accused the reason/ ground of his detainment/ arrest.
Section- 50of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) says that every police official with authority to arrest someone without a warrant must inform the person getting arrested about the crime for which he is arrested and other relevant grounds for the arrest. This is the duty of the police official which he cannot refuse.
Section- 50Aof CrPC makes it compulsory for the person/ police official arresting a person to inform of the arrest to any of his relatives or even friends who may have interest in the same.
Section- 55of CrPC states that in situations where a police official authorises his junior to arrest a person without a warrant, the junior official must notify the arrested person of the order of delegation that is given which must also mention the crime and the grounds of arrest.
2- Right to be produced before the Magistrate without unnecessary delay
Article- 22(2) of the Indian Constitution stipulates that the police official making an arrest must produce the arrested person before the Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest failing to do so would make him liable for wrongful detention.
Section- 55 of CrPC states that in case a police official is making an arrest without a warrant, then he must produce the person arrested without any unnecessary delay before the Magistrate with jurisdiction or before a police officer in charge of the police station, depending upon the conditions of the arrest.
Section- 76 of CrPC states that the arrested person must be produced in court within 24 hours of his arrest, the same can must exclude the time duration which is required for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate Court.
3- Right to be released on bail
Section- 50 (2) of CrPC provides that the arrested person has the right to get released on bail by making arrangement for the sureties or just inform him of his right when arrested without a warrant for an offence other than a non-cognizable offence.
4- Right to a fair and just trial
The legal provision regarding the right to a fair and just trial can be extracted from the Indian Constitution as well as a lot of Supreme court and High court judgments since no specified law has been stipulated in this regard.
Article- 14 of the Indian Constitution states that ”every individual is equal before the law” which means that all the sides in a legal dispute must be treated equally.
The principle of natural justice must be considered in respect to both the parties.
Similarly, a right to a speedy trial has also been upheld in “Huissainara Khatoon v/s Home Secretary, State of Bihar” where the court observed that “the trial must be disposed of as diligently as possible”.
5- Right to consult a Lawyer
Article- 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution provides that every arrested person has the right to choose and elect his own lawyer to defend him in the court of law for whatever crime he may/ may not have committed.
Section- 41D of CrPC allows prisoners to be able to consult with their lawyers even during their interrogation.
6- Right to free legal aid
Article- 39A The government in an effort towards securing justice instituted Article- 39A to provide free legal aid to people in need. The same right was reaffirmed in the dispute of Khatri v/s Bihar, where the court held that, “the state must provide free legal aid to the poverty- stricken accused person”. The same right to free legal aid is provided at the first instance of production of the accused before the Magistrate in the court.
Moreover, this right to free legal aid for the accused cannot be refused even when the accused fails to ask for it himself. Now, a key note to remember, if the government is unable to provide free legal aid to the poverty- stricken accused person, then whole trial will stand to be void. The same was firmly established in Sukh Das v/s Arunachal Pradesh where the Court held that, “the right of a poverty- stricken accused person cannot be refused even when the accused fails to apply for the same”.
Section- 304 of CrPC provides a very significant right to every accused who is set to appear before a Sessions Court to appoint him a lawyer (totally free of cost) at the expense of the State. The court may appoint him a representing lawyer if the accused has no sufficient means to appoint himself a lawyer for his case then.
7- Right to keep quiet
The right to keep quiet does not have any mention in any Indian law, however, its authority can be derived from CrPC as well as the Indian Evidence Act.
8- Right to be examined by a Doctor
Section- 54 of CrPC asserts that if an arrested person claims that medical examination of his body would lead to a detail which would dismiss the fact of commission of the crime by him, or some detail that might lead to evidence towards commission of the crime by some other person against his body.
The court has complete discretion to order for a medical examination of an accused person at his request and the same is granted by the court when satisfied that the request is not made to delay or defeat justice.