Mar 15,2023 | 9 min read

Constitutional Perspective of Criminal Procedure Code

The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 governs the procedure for investigation, trial, and punishment of criminal offenses in India. On the other hand, the Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all citizens, including those accused of a crime.

According to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India". The Criminal Procedure Code encompasses the principles of a fair and impartial trial, ensuring that arrest is not only lawful but also justified. Unless exceptions are established, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Criminal Procedure Code acknowledges this entitlement and guarantees that the accused will not be subjected to any form of torture or cruel conduct. The use of physical force during an arrest is prohibited under Section 46 of the CrPC, and Section 50 mandates that the arresting officer apprise the arrested person of the grounds of arrest and their right to seek bail.

Right against the ex-post-facto law:

The term retrospective effect refers to the enforcement of a new law, such that it becomes effective even before its enactment. According to Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution ; “No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the 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”

Protection from double jeopardy: 

The principle of double jeopardy is a legal concept that prohibits individuals from being tried twice for the same offense. This doctrine serves as a legal defense safeguarding an accused or defendant from facing a new trial for same allegations and facts following a lawful acquittal or conviction. According to Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution, "No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once."


Right against self-incrimination:

The prohibition of self-incrimination is an established principle in law, stating that no individual charged with a crime can be forced to testify against themselves. This principle is based on the maxim "Nemo tenetur prodere accusare seipsum," which asserts that no one is obligated to blame oneself. The principle relates to the admissibility of confessions made under pressure, which are inadmissible as evidence. Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India reiterates that "No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."

The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) also guarantees that the accused cannot be forced to provide self-incriminating testimony. Section 313 of the CrPC permits the accused to make a statement during the trial, but he cannot be compelled to answer any question.


Right to be informed of the charges and legal representation:

Article 22(1) of Constitution states "No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice." Section 41 of the CrPC requires the police officer to have a reasonable belief that the accused has committed an offense before making an arrest. Section 50 of the CrPC requires the police officer to inform the accused of the grounds of arrest and his right to bail. 


Right to be produced before the Magistrate without unnecessary delay:

According to Article 22(2), "Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate." Section 57 of the CrPC provides that no person can be detained for more than 24 hours without being produced before a magistrate.


Right to Legal Aid:

Right to free legal aid for the purpose of securing justice is provided under Article 39A of the Indian Constitution."The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities." The Article states. Section 304 of CrPC enumerates that "where, in a trial before the Court of Session, 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 defence at the expense of the State."


Right to a fair and just trial:

According to Article 14 of Indian Constitution, "The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth."


Right of privacy and protection against unlawful searches:

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution explicitly states that no person shall be deprived of their personal life and liberty except in accordance with the procedure of law under Article 21. The Code of Criminal Procedure prescribes the procedure for obtaining a warrant to conduct searches at a person's residence. The accused person does not lose this right even after his arrest.




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Bharat Misra

My area of practice is mainly Criminal, Civil, Constitutional, Family and Law of Contracts. I appear in all courts of Delhi NCR.