Right Against Self-Incrimination

The Right Against Self-Incrimination is given under the constitution under Article 20(3). It is basically a fundamental right given to every citizen of India. It is derive3d from a maxim, ‘Nemo Tenetur Seipsum Accusare’ that means no man can be asked to answer any question that might prove him/her guilty of a crime. It basically means that no man can be witness in his/her own case. This provision was borrowed by the Indian constitution from thew American constitution. It is not only a right, but a fundamental right granted to the citizens of India under Article 20(3) of the Constitution. This concept or right is backed by some principles of criminal law which eventually proves how right this Right Against Self-Incrimination is for the society.

The rationale behind this provision was given in the case Saunders V. United Kingdom where it was said that to prevent injustice, protection of the accused is important from the improper coercion/ pressure of the authorities. Taking in consideration the ethical rationale it is important to protect the accused from the investigators as it would become easy for them to take the words of victim and put pressure on that person and make evidence against him and present that person in front of the court to incriminate the accused. Even if such techniques are good for finding the person who committed the crime, but these techniques are anyways against the Human Rights. Therefor this right is necessary for maintaining check and balances on the authorities while they examine the accused. And on the other hand, it is important for protecting any innocent who might incriminate himself/herself out of fear, or out of blackmail.

Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution basically lays down three essentials for this provision that are:

  • The right is given to an accused of an offence. Right against self-incrimination is only given or granted to a person who is alleged of committing a crime specified under IPC or any other special Penal laws.
  • Provides safeguard from being compelled to be a witness.
  • Such compulsion is also given to the accused for giving evidence against himself. The right can only be used when any person is being compelled to give evidence against himself that might incriminate him/her.

 Instance of Self-Incrimination:

When in some cases the statement from accused is forced out by the police authorities, then the right against self-incrimination is granted whereby the accused has the right to remain silent and not give any statement to the police authorities that might incriminate himself/herself. It is essential to defend accused to protect the person until he/she is held guilty by the court. It is a principle of law that no person can be said to be guilty unless and until it is proven by the court. Even if in some cases a statement is made by the accused where there is a chance that it might incriminate himself/herself it is important to ensure that it was not taken under undue influence by the authorities. One of the importance of this constitutional right is to provide a system and standards in the criminal justice system of India.

Case Laws:

  • In Joseph v. Narayan, it was said by the honourable court that a person is set to be accused of committing a crime when such accusation is put against that person and that accusation leads to prosecution of that person for committing that crime.
  • In Vera Ibrahim v. State of Maharashtra, it was observed by the honourable court that this right is given to a person who has a formal accusation made against him/her. It means no benefit of this article is given to any person who is arrested on mere apprehension and without the FIR being filed against the person.
  • In State v. M. Krishna Mohan, it was said by the honourable court that while elaborating the principles of Article 20(3) it is said that collecting of foot/palm/finger/thumb impressions, photographs, writing specimens would not come under the ambit of ‘to be a witness’.
  •  In Nandini Satapti v. P.L. Dani, it was said that compulsion does not only include undue influence, threats or beating, but it also includes the mental torture that is done to the accused like tiring interrogations, any sort of intimidation done by the police authorities, or environmental conditions, environmental pressure etc.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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