IN THE OFFICE OF ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PROSECUTION AT WASHIM
PAPER FOR WORKSHOP
DEFENCES AVAILABLE FOR ACCUSED IN CRIMINAL TRIAL
Introduction: Recently, India has demonstrated an increased commitment to rule of law and citizens’ legal rights. Because of police abuses during interrogation, Article 22 of the Indian Constitution was added to prevent police from detaining citizens for longer than 24 hours without a special order from a magistrate. Though domestic law grants this fundamental legal right, there remains a tremendous gulf between the actual law and its implementation. Police officers regularly detain suspects for several days, post-dating arrest documents 24-hours before producing the defendant before the magistrate. Similarly, pretrial detainees are routinely denied due process rights taken for granted in the western world: notice of charges and an opportunity to contact family or lawyers. In many cases these prisoners – poor and marginally literate – are completely unaware they have any legal rights at all, further emboldening police officers.
NGOs have been successful in lobbying Indian authorities to criminalize torture, organizing public awareness campaigns on the issue of torture and aiding the rehabilitation of torture victims. However, systematic police denial, obstruction, an absence of records and a lack of accountability continues to plague the system.
Despite the fact that India has a limited legal aid system, the vast majority of pre-trial detainees never receive any legal representation, making this right illusory at best. India's current legal aid system operates primarily in urban areas, and due to caste segregation many Indians do not receive access to legal aid at all. Each of India's 28 states operates its own Legal Services Authority, resulting in an uncoordinated approach to India's legal aid problems. The Various defenses available for the accused in criminal trial are:
* Criminal Act with...