The right of the accused to protect and preserve his rights against authoritarian, oppressive and autocratic action of the State

The fundamental objective of Criminal Law has always been to protect the law abiding against the lawless and the peaceful against the violent. In the welfare state this aim is achieved by penalizing the accused after a thorough investigation and proving beyond reasonable doubt that the charges leveled against the accused are true and certain and also by conducting a fair legal proceeding in accordance with the procedure established by law. It is an inevitable duty of the legal systems to ensure that the trial is fair, just and authentic and no innocent man is victimized and the accused gets all the opportunity to prove his innocence and defend himself and avails to all the basic and fundamental rights of the accused.

In yesteryears a person accused of an offence and criminal was used synonyms to each other without giving any opportunity to the accused to prove his innocence or call for a witness. He was termed as a pariah (an outcast) to be shunned and kept in isolation merely because an allegation is imposed on him.

However, with the new concept of criminal jurisprudence, the right of the accused to protect and preserve his rights against autocratic, authoritarian and oppressive action of the State has been recognised.

The concept of natural justice in England due procedure clause in United States the principle of nulla poena sine lege in Europe started to be recognised as the basic tenets of Criminal Jurisprudence.
The maxim nulla poena sine lege displays four constitutive rule of Criminal Justice:-

  • That the scope of criminal law should be pr-determined and fixed,
  • That a person should not be punished unless his acts are in breach of these rules
  • That the penal statute should be strictly construed, and
  • That the penal law should not have retrospective operation.

It is very important that the natives of the state must know that what actions of theirs can attract penal provisions and there must be certainity.

Hence it can be stated that with the evolving nature of the criminal jurisprudence the basic rights of the accused have been recognised. The Evidence Act, 1872 and the Criminal Procedure Code have incorporated various Sections in order to provide certain privileges to the accused. These rights are availed by the accused at the initial stages of first information report or a complaint continues in the investigation process, inquiry or a trial up to the sentencing stage and also after conviction when he is lodged in jail.

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