Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes

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Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes

Source: The post Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes has been created, based on the article “Arrest, agencies, and criminal courts” published in “The Hindu” on 12th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2– Governance (criminal justice system)

Context: The article discusses two Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes. One ruling is about the necessity of custody before filing a charge sheet. The other is about informing the accused of the grounds of arrest in writing. Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes

What are the Supreme Court rulings that affect the rights of individuals accused of crimes?

  1. Custody Not Required Before Charge Sheet Filing:

The Supreme Court ruled that an accused does not always need to be in custody when a charge sheet is filed, provided they are cooperating and not likely to abscond. This directive alleviates unnecessary detentions, easing the burden on both investigating agencies and the accused.

For example: In Siddharth v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2021), the Court highlighted that Section 170 of the CrPC does not mandate custody for filing charge sheets.

  1. Mandatory Written Grounds of Arrest:

The Court emphasized that informing the accused in writing about the grounds of arrest is a constitutional right under Article 22.

Examples:

  1. a) In Pankaj Bansal v. Union of India (2023), the Court reiterated that the reasons for arrest must be documented in writing to uphold due process and transparency, further aligning with constitutional mandates.
  2. b) In Prabir Purkayastha v. State (NCT of Delhi), the Court reaffirmed the same principle, applying it equally under the UAPA, emphasizing the necessity for detailed, personalized grounds of arrest.

What are the implications of these judgements?

  1. Reduced Need for Custody: The SC ruling on custody before filing a charge sheet, as outlined in Siddharth v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2021), reduces unnecessary detentions, easing the burden on investigating officers and courts.
  2. The mandate to provide written grounds of arrest enhances transparency and protects constitutional rights under Article 22 of the Constitution. The SC emphasized that written grounds help the accused seek legal counsel and bail, ensuring fair legal proceedings under Section 50(1) of the CrPC.
  3. Extension to Special Statutes: The directive to provide written grounds of arrest, initially highlighted in cases involving Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), is set to influence procedures under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as well.

Question for practice:

Examine the recent Supreme Court rulings regarding the rights of individuals accused of crimes and their implications on custody before charge sheet filing and informing the accused of the grounds of arrest in writing.

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