What is Double Jeopardy?       

        Double Jeopardy necessarily implies that a person cannot be punished for the same the offense twice. Article 20(2)  of the Indian Constitution says that" No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offense more than once." This clause embodies the common law rule of  Nemo Debet vis Vexari which means that no man should be put in twice in peril for the same offense.

         The American constitution incorporates the same rule in the Fifth Amendment that "no person shall be twice put in Jeopardy of life or limb". In India, the protection under clause 2 of Article 20 in Indian Constitution is narrower than that given in American and British laws. Under the American and British Constitution, the protection against double jeopardy is given for the second prosecution for the same of irrespective of whether an accused was acquitted or convicted in the first trial.But in India under article 20(2)  the protection against punishment is given only when the accused has not only been prosecuted but also punished, and is sought to be prosecuted the second time for the same offense. The use of the word prosecution that limits the scope of the protection under clause (1) of Article 20 in Indian Constitution. If there is no punishment for the offense as a result of prosecution clause (2) of Article 20 has no application and an appeal against acquittal, if provided by the procedure is in substance a continuance of the prosecution. The word prosecution as used in the word 'punishment'embodies the following is essentials for the application of double jeopardy rule. which are as follows.


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 Essentials for the application of double Jeopardy Rule - 


A)  The person must be accused of an offense. The word 'offense' as defined in general clauses Act means 'any act or omission made punishable by law for the time being in force.

B)  The preceding or prosecution must have taken place before a Court or Judicial Tribunal

C) The person must have been prosecuted and punished in the previous proceeding.

D) The offense must be the same for which he was prosecuted and punished in the previous processing.


It does not apply to departmental proceedings - 


State of Haryana Vs. Bhagwant Singh  In  this case, Court held that the prohibition under Article 20  does not apply to departmental proceedings.

It does not apply to continuing offense- 


Mohammad Ali versus Sri Ram Swaroop (AIR 1965 All 161) In this case Court held that in cases of Continuing offense, each day is counted as a fresh offense and each can be punished separately.


Same offense 


Bhagwant Swarup vs State of Maharashtra In this case, Court held that the second prosecution, as well as punishment, should be regarding the same offense for which the person has been prosecuted and punished before,  in order for Article 20(2) apply.  the same offense means that the ingredients of the offense are same.  It does not apply to distinct offenses committed by the same act of that person.


See also 

     Right to freedom (Six basic freedoms which are guaranteed under the constitution of India)

     Pardoning power of the President of India | Constitutional Law 

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