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Legal Rights for an accused during the Arrest:

When an accused person is arrested in India, he has certain rights mentioned in the Constitution of India that are to protect him from unlawful arrest, detention and usage of force by officials, this rights are also extended during the courses of investigation, enquiry, trial. Article 20 of Indian Constitution says that "no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence. Thus, accused is given fair equality as par with other citizen.

Apart from mentioning in the Constitution of India, some of the rights are also mentioned in the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

  • 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 and grounds for his detainment and arrest. Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that every police official with authority to arrest a person without a warrant, must inform the person getting arrested about the crime for which he is getting arrested and other relevant grounds for the arrest.

  • Obligation to inform about arrest to nominated person: Section 50-A of Criminal Procedure Code 1973, imposes obligation on a police officer making arrest, to inform about the arrest to a nominated person of the accused who can be Family, Relative or a Friend.

  • No Unnecessary Restraint: Section 49 of Criminal Procedure Code,1973 imposes restrictions on unnecessary restraint. The person arrested shall not be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape.

  • Right to consult a lawyer: Article 22(1) of the Indian Constitution provides that every arrested person has the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.

  • Arresting of a female accused: Section 51(2) of Criminal Procedure Code, stipulates that the search of a female, shall be made only by another female with strict regard to decency.

  • Right to be released on a bail: In the case of a non-cognizable offence, Sec 50(2) of Criminal Procedure Code provides the right to an arrested person to get released on bail by making arrangements for the sureties. In a case where an individual has been arrested without a warrant for a non-cognizable offence it is the duty of the police officer to inform about the right to apply for bail.

  • Accused to be produced before the Magistrate within 24 Hours of arrest: Article 22(2) of Constitution of India 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 76 of Criminal Procedure Code requires that the accused shall be produced before Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest without delay, excluding the time duration which is required for the journey.

  • Confessions made to Police Officers: Confessions before the police officers are not admissible before the Court of Law under the Evidence Act 1872. Sec 164 of Criminal Procedure Code states the involuntary confessions are totally excluded , this is to protect the accused from threat, forced, or undue influence to confess.

  • Right to free legal aid: As per Article 39-A of Constitution of India, It is the duty of the State to see that the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity for all its citizens. It must therefore arrange to provide free legal aid to those who cannot access justice due to economic and other disabilities. Sec. 304 of Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 enunciates that in a trial before the Court of Session, if 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 defense at the expense of the State.

  • Examination by Medical Practitioner: Section 53 of Criminal Procedure Code,1973: When a person is arrested on a charge of committing an offence of such a nature and alleged to have been committed under such circumstances that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of his person will afford evidence as to the commission of an offence, it shall be lawful for a registered medical practitioner, acting at the request of a police officer and for any person acting in good faith in his aid and under his direction, to make such an examination of the person arrested as is reasonable necessary in order to ascertain the facts which may afford such evidence, and to use such force as is reasonably necessary for that purpose. In case of inspection of a female, such inspection shall be done only by a female registered medical practitioner.

  • Detention period for Non - Warrant Cases: No police officer shall detain in custody a person arrested without warrant for a longer period than under all the circumstances of the case is reasonable, and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of a Magistrate under section 167, exceed twenty- four hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate's Court.

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