DOUBLE JEOPARDY

by | Nov 2, 2023

PROVISIONS FOR DOUBLE JEOPARDY / AUTREFOIS ACQUIT, AND AUTREFOIS CONVICT :- SECTION 300 OF THE INDIAN CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE

INTRODUCTION

In various legal systems around the world, protections are in place to prevent individuals from being tried again for the same offense after they have been either convicted or acquitted. This article explores these principles within the context of the Indian Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code.

MEANING OF AUTREFOIS ACQUIT AND AUTREFOIS CONVICT

  • Autrefois Acquit :- This term means “previously acquitted” and signifies that a person cannot be retried for an offense for which they have been acquitted.
  • Autrefois Convict :– This term means “previously convicted” and implies that a person cannot be retried for the same offense for which they have been convicted. Together, these doctrines give rise to the Rule against Double Jeopardy.

AUTREFOIS ACQUIT AND AUTREFOIS CONVICT CONCERNING INDIAN CONSTITUTION

  • The Indian Constitution includes the doctrine of Autrefois Convict but not Autrefois Acquit in the form of the Rule Against Double Jeopardy.
  • Article 20 of the Indian Constitution protects individuals concerning the conviction of offenses, and Article 20(2) of Indian Constitution establishes the Rule Against Double Jeopardy. It is adopted from the fifth amendment of the US Constitution but does not incorporate the principle of Autrefois Acquit as seen in the US Constitution.
  • Article 20(2) of Indian Constitution provides protection only after an accused has been prosecuted and punished.

AUTREFOIS ACQUIT AND AUTREFOIS CONVICT IN RELATION TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE

  • Article 20(2) of Indian Constitution imbibes the principle of Autrefois Convict.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) incorporates both Autrefois Convict and Autrefois Acquit principles.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has a broader scope within criminal jurisprudence compared to Article 20, which outlines the general rule against double jeopardy.

SECTION 300 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE (CRPC) – PROTECTION AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY

  • General Protection

This section establishes the principle that a person who has been tried by a Court of competent jurisdiction for an offense and has either been convicted or acquitted of that offense cannot be retried for the same offense or on the same facts for any other offense.

  • Exception with State Government Consent

If the State Government grants consent, a person acquitted or convicted of an offense can be subsequently tried for a distinct offense for which a separate charge might have been made at the initial trial.

  • Exception for Different Consequences

If a person has been convicted of an offense due to certain acts that had consequences, and these consequences, together with the acts, constitute a different offense, the person can be subsequently tried for the latter offense if the consequences had not occurred or were not known to the Court at the time of the initial conviction.

  • Jurisdiction of the First Court

Even if a person has been acquitted or convicted of an offense constituted by certain acts, they can still be charged and tried for another offense constituted by the same acts. However, this is allowed only if the Court where the person was first tried was not competent to try the subsequent offense.

  • Discharge under Section 258

If a person has been discharged under Section 258, they cannot be retried for the same offense unless the Court that issued the discharge or a superior Court grants consent.

  • Preservation of Other Provisions

This section clarifies that it does not affect the provisions of Section 26 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, or Section 188 of the CrPC.

  • Explanation

The dismissal of a complaint or the discharge of the accused does not constitute an acquittal for the purposes of this section.

RES JUDICATA AND ISSUE ESTOPPEL

While Section 300 primarily deals with the protection against Double Jeopardy, it’s essential to understand the related legal principles.

  • Res Judicata :– Res judicata, or the rule of issue Estoppel, prevents the relitigation of facts in issue for which evidence has already been presented and specific findings made in a previous criminal trial. It relates to the admissibility of evidence.
  • Article 20(2) :- Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution prevents double punishment for the same offense. It ensures that a person is not punished twice for the same crime.
  • Rule of Issue Estoppel :- The rule of issue estoppel prevents the introduction of evidence on an issue that was resolved in favor of the accused in a prior trial. This is distinct from Article 20(2) and relates to the question at issue in two trials.

These legal principles collectively protect individuals from being subjected to multiple trials or multiple punishments for the same offense and ensure a fair and just legal process.

CONCLUSION 

The discussions above emphasize the vital role of “Autrefois Acquit” and “Autrefois Convict” principles in upholding the essence of ‘Double Jeopardy’. Once an individual is acquitted or convicted of an offense, the law safeguards their rights and prevents further prosecution. This not only maintains the spirit of the law but also fosters certainty, stability, and equity within the legal system. These principles ensure that once a person is acquitted or convicted, they are not subjected to further legal proceedings, saving time and resources, and treating individuals fairly by not punishing them again for past offenses.

Reference:-

1-https://m.timesofindia.com/india/double-jeopardy-interim-relief-for-rahul-in-patna-high-court/amp_articleshow/99744372.cms – THE TIMES OF INDIA

2-https://m.timesofindia.com/city/delhi/delhi-court-slams-police-for-double-jeopardy-fir/amp_articleshow/86025510.cms – THE TIMES OF INDIA

3-https://m.timesofindia.com/city/mumbai/double-jeopardy-7/11-convict-gets-relief-in-second-case/amp_articleshow/71307443.cms -THE TIMES OF INDIA 

4-https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-double-jeopardy-bar-if-there-was-no-trial-supreme-court/article25457534.ece/amp/ – THE HINDU

5-https://m.timesofindia.com/city/bengaluru/concept-of-double-jeopardy-applicable-only-if-offences-are-same-in-two-proceedings-karnataka-hc/amp_articleshow/93861043.cms – THE TIMES OF INDIA

 

Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

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