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According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, "no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India." It also includes a just and fair trial free of arbitrary procedures, implying that arrest should be both legal and justified. In this context, this article discusses the procedural and constitutional rights of the accused in India before and after arrest. Except when exceptions are made, the accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, unless and until otherwise provided.Because the Indian constitution is committed to democracy and the rule of law, the concept of a free and fair trial is a constitutional commitment, and the cardinal principle of criminal law revolves around Natural Justice, in which even the accused or guilty person is treated humanely. The prosecution is required by law to stand on its own two feet and prove the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.The accused are also granted certain rights, the most fundamental of which are enshrined in the Indian Constitution. An accused has certain rights during any investigation, inquiry, or trial for the offence with which he is charged, and he should be protected from arbitrary or illegal arrest.’

The rights of the accused person

  • Right to know the ground of arrest

Section 50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) states that the arrested person must be informed of the reasons for his arrest as well as his right to bail.Every police officer or other person who arrests a person without a warrant must immediately provide him with full details of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest.Section 75 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) states that a police officer or other person executing an arrest warrant must notify the person to be arrested of the substance of the warrant and, if necessary, show him the warrant.In the landmark case of Joginder Kumar vs. state, it was determined that, while the police had absolute legal authority to arrest someone in a criminal case, every arrest had to be justified. Arrests could not be made on a regular basis based solely on an allegation or suspicion of involvement in a crime.

  • Right to be produced in front of magistrate without delay

Section 55 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) states that a police officer who arrests without a warrant must produce the arrested individual without undue delay before the Magistrate. According to Section 76 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.), the arrested person must be brought before the Court as soon as possible.The police officer or other person executing an arrest warrant shall bring the person arrested before the Court to which he is required by law to produce such person without undue delay, provided that such delay shall in no case exceed twenty-four hours, exclusive of the time required for travel from the place of arrest to the Magistrate's Court.

  • Access to bail

Section 50 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) states that if a police officer arrests a person without a warrant, he must inform the person arrested that he is entitled to be released on bail and that he may arrange for sureties on his behalf.

  • Right to fair trial

The Supreme Court has ruled in several cases that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees a speedy trial. The right to a speedy trial is first mentioned in the Magna Carta, a landmark document of English law. The Hon'ble Court held in the case of Huissainara Khatoon vs. Home Secretary, State of Bihar that “the State could not avoid its constitutional obligation to provide a speedy trial to the accused by claiming financial or administrative inability, the State has a constitutional mandate to ensure a speedy trial, and the State must do whatever is necessary to achieve this goal.”

  • Right to free legal aid

Section 41D of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) states that when a person is arrested and interrogated by the police, he has the right to meet with an advocate of his choice during the interrogation. Section 303 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) deals with the rights of the person being prosecuted. Any person accused of an offence before a Criminal Court or against whom proceedings are initiated under this Code may choose his own pleader.Hon'ble Justice P.N. Bhagwati made it mandatory for Session Judges to inform the accused of their rights to free legal aid and to advise individuals if they are unable to retain counsel to defend themselves due to poverty or destitution in the landmark case of Khatri v. the State of Bihar.

  • Right to be examined by doctor

Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) states that when a person who is arrested, whether on a charge or otherwise, alleges, at the time when he is produced before a Magistrate or at any time during the period of his detention in custody, that the examination of his body will yield evidence that will disprove the commission by him of any offence or which will establish the commission by any other person of any crime against his body, the Magistrate shall order that the examination.


In terms of protecting and safeguarding the rights of criminal defendants, modern constitutional law has come a long way. India has a significant problem with illegal arrests and custodial deaths, which are primarily the result of illegal arrests. According to India's legal system, which adheres to the principle of "Innocent until proven guilty," an accused person has certain rights as an arrested person that remain unaffected whenever a police officer knocks on his door to make an arrest. In D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal (1997), the Supreme Court issued some guidelines that were required to be followed in all cases of arrest or detention, which included, the arresting authority should bear accurate, visible, and clear identification along with their name tags with their designation, the memo be signed by the arrestee and family member, the family or friend must be informed about the accused's arrest, The arrestee may be allowed to meet with his lawyer during interrogation, but not throughout the interrogation, among other things.

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