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Right to Freedom and Right to Remedy

Article 20

Article 20, titled “Protection in respect of conviction for offences,” is a fundamental right enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution. It safeguards individuals against unfair trials and punishments by outlining essential legal principles, thereby ensuring a fair and just legal system in India. It serves as a vital safeguard against arbitrary punishments and unfair trials, protecting citizens from abuse of power by the state.

Article 20 (1) establishes the principle of no ex-post facto law. It stipulates that no individual can be convicted for an act that was not considered an offence when they committed it. Furthermore, it ensures that the punishment cannot be more severe than what was prescribed by law at the time of the act. This clause effectively prevents the retrospective application of laws, thereby protecting individuals from punishment for actions that were considered legal at the time of their occurrence. In essence, a law passed today cannot punish someone for an act committed yesterday if it wasn’t illegal at the time.

Article 20(2) provides the right and protection against double jeopardy. According to this clause, no individual can be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. If someone is acquitted of a crime, they cannot be retried for the same offence. This provision safeguards against multiple punishments for a single act, ensuring fairness in the legal process and preventing potential abuse of power by authorities.

Clause 3 of Article 20 guarantees the right against self-incrimination. It states that no individual accused of an offence can be compelled to be a witness against themselves. This provision protects individuals from being coerced into providing evidence that could potentially incriminate them, thereby safeguarding their right to silence and ensuring a fair trial.

Overall, Article 20 of the Indian Constitution encompasses essential legal principles that uphold the fundamental rights of individuals and contribute to the fair administration of justice in the country.

Article 22

The primary purpose of Article 22 is to protect individuals from arbitrary arrests and detentions by establishing specific procedures that authorities must adhere to. This article ensures that the rights of individuals are safeguarded during any legal proceedings related to their arrest or detention.

Essentially, clauses (1) and (2) of this article provide rights of the detainees. Article 22(1) mandates that an arrested person must be informed promptly about the grounds for their arrest. Additionally, they have the right to consult and be defended by a legal counsel of their choice.

Article 22(2) stipulates that every arrested individual must be brought before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of their arrest, excluding travel time. Any detention beyond this period requires authorisation from the magistrate, ensuring judicial oversight of the detention process.

Article 22(3) contains provisions regarding exceptions to these rights, particularly concerning enemy aliens during wartime and individuals detained under preventive detention laws.

Article 22 Clauses (4) to (7) specifically pertain to preventive detention, establishing guidelines for the maximum duration of detention. Under this Article, individuals can be detained for a maximum period of two months before undergoing a review by an Advisory Board. The recommendations made by this Advisory Board hold significant weight, as they are binding on the authority responsible for the detainment. However, in certain exceptional cases, Parliament is empowered to extend the duration of detention beyond the initial two months. This extension, though, can only occur subsequent to a review by the Advisory Board, ensuring a measure of oversight and accountability in the process.

The 54th Amendment to the Indian Constitution introduced additional safeguards by requiring authorities not only to provide the grounds for arrest but also the details of the accusation. This amendment further strengthens the protection of individuals’ rights under Article 22.

In essence, Article 22 aims to prevent the misuse of power by ensuring fair treatment for anyone facing arrest or detention. It upholds the principles of personal liberty and due process of law, reflecting the commitment of the Indian Constitution to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Article 32

Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, often referred to as the “Right to Remedy,” is a fundamental right entrenched in Part III of the Constitution. It stands as a cornerstone provision, empowering individuals to directly approach the Supreme Court for the enforcement of any of their other fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. This right is considered one of the most crucial provisions because without an effective remedy, the guarantee of rights would be rendered meaningless.

Clause (1) of Article 32 guarantees the right for any individual to directly move the Supreme Court, bypassing lower courts if necessary, for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. This provision ensures swift access to justice and enables individuals to seek redressal for violations of their rights without procedural hindrances.

The powers vested in the Supreme Court under Article 32(2) include the authority to issue a range of writs, ensuring the enforcement of fundamental rights. These writs encompass Habeas Corpus, aimed at securing the release of individuals unlawfully detained; Mandamus, which directs public authorities to fulfil specific legal obligations; Prohibition, preventing courts or tribunals from overstepping their jurisdiction; Quo Warranto, enabling challenges to the legitimacy of individuals holding public offices; and Certiorari, utilised to annul orders issued by courts or tribunals if deemed unlawful or improper.

Article 32(3) authorises Parliament to enact laws enabling other courts, typically High Courts, to issue writs within their respective jurisdictions. This provision expands the avenues for individuals seeking to enforce their fundamental rights, allowing them to approach their local High Courts for relief through writs in specific situations. However, it is essential to note that this clause does not diminish the Supreme Court’s authority to issue writs; it merely supplements the remedial framework.

Clause 3 stipulates that the Supreme Court can employ these writs to uphold any of the fundamental rights delineated in Part III of the Constitution. Writs are basically official orders issued by a court, like a high court or the Supreme Court, that tell someone to do something or stop doing something. They act as tools to enforce the law and protect individual rights.

Article 32(4) stipulates that the right to move the Supreme Court under this provision cannot be suspended except under circumstances expressly provided for in the Constitution. This safeguard ensures that the Right to Remedy remains inviolable, even during times of emergency or crisis, thereby upholding the principle of constitutional supremacy.


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