According to the case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978), laws can be struck down as unconstitutional on grounds of reasonability, as per Articles 21 and 19. This is the incorporation of due process in Indian law, where the Supreme Court can strike down laws plainly on the basis of how reasonable it is and how well it upholds the principles of fairness, equity and justice even if there is no explicit violation of fundamental rights of lack of competency.
Therefore, the CrPC has to conform to the fundamentals of due process or the SC can strike the relevant sections down as unconstitutional if they are inhumane or contrary to principles of natural justice.
- DUE PROCESS
Due Process – Fair process
Developed by Magna Carta and used by the American Constitution. In India it came in because of the 1975 Emergency. The Maneka Gandhi case brought about the idea of due process of law.
Article 21 talks about due process of the law.
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius – the US constitution gives everything else to the people and the state. The Indian Constitution includes it by interpreting it under A. 14 19 and 21.
Article 14, 19, 21 forms the due process. Only Royappa case read them together. Only later did they start reading them together.
Article 21 – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
- Substantive due process
- Procedural due process
- FAIR TRAIL
Zahira Habibulla H Sheikh v. State of Gujarat – Given under Rights of the Court
- TREATED EQUALLY- ART. 14
Article 14 – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law1 or the equal protection of the laws2 within the territory of India.
2 Equal protection would mean that the state extends to the state the duty to protect.
- “EX-POST FACTO LAWS”
Article 20(1) – Cant be convicted retrospectively (only in criminal cases not for civil cases). Even then the defences of estoppels and
Article 20(2) – Right against double jeopardy
Section 300 of the CrPC
- The elements of the section:
- Tried by court of competent jurisdiction
- Convicted or acquitted
- Same offence or “same facts” – Section 26 of the General Clauses Act, Section 258 of the CrPC. There are different kinds of judgements which may be pronounced. They are conviction there is an acquittal and there is discharged and there is quashing. For S. 300 there needs to be only either conviction or acquittal.
Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India
The Supreme Court in this case reiterated the proposition that the fundamental rights under the constitution of India are not mutually exclusive but are interrelated. According to Justice K. Iyer, ‘a fundamental right is not an island in itself’. The expression “personal liberty” in Article 21 was interpreted broadly to engulf a variety of rights within itself. The court further observed that the fundamental rights should be interpreted in such a manner so as to expand its reach and ambit rather than to concentrate its meaning and content by judicial construction. Article 21 provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with procedure established by law but that does not mean that a mere semblance of procedure provided by law will satisfy the Article , the procedure should be just , fair and reasonable. The principles of natural justice are implicit in Article 21 and hence the statutory law must not condemn anyone unheard. A reasonable opportunity of defense or hearing should be given to the person before affecting him, and in the absence of which the law will be an arbitrary one.
One of the significant interpretation in this case is the discovery of inter connections between Article 14, 19 and 21. Thus a law which prescribes a procedure for depriving a person of “personal liberty” has to fulfill the requirements of Article 14 and 19 also. Moreover the ‘procedure established by law’ as required under Article 21 must satisfy the test of reasonableness in order to conform with Article 14.
Justice Krishna Iyer in this case observed that, “the spirit of man is at the root of Article 21”, “personal liberty makes for the worth of the human person”.
Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration
While it is true that a person who is convicted is deprived of certain fundamental rights like the right to carry on business from jail, in certain aspects, yet, his rights under Arts. 21 and 14 are still enforceable. Limitations on his right to life and movement are subject to the procedure established by law. The question here is whether the procedure is reasonable and just.
The term under the sentence of death is applicable only to prisoners who have exhausted all sources of appeal, i.e., all appeals till the plea for presidential/governor’s clemency. Only once the plea for clemency which is the highest appeal available is exhausted then only can any prisoners fall under this term. Till then, they are not under the ambit of the term.
Sec 366(2) directs that once a decision for death sentence has been granted by a sessions court, the prisoner is remanded to jail custody under a warrant. Sec 73 & 74 of the IPC show that solitary confinement is a substantive punishment.
It was contended here that sec 30(2) amounts to double jeopardy as they are facing punishments under sec 366(2) as well as sec 73 & 74 of the IPC which is violative of Art. 20(2) of the Indian constitution. The court holds that, ‘But as the prisoner is not to be kept in solitary confinement and the custody in which he is kept under s. 30(2) would prelude detention in solitary confinement, there is no chance of imposing a second punishment upon him and, therefore, s. 30(2) is not violative of Art. 20.’
It further holds that there is no unreasonable restriction on his life or liberty as once the obnoxious element of sec 30(2) is read down, it is in tune with the procedure established by law. The court holds that the prisoner should not be deprived of his rights as available to other prisoners, like the right to eat with them, to enjoy certain time outside of his cell, etc. This is all subject to certain limitations with regard to safety. Thus, it’s not violative of Art. 21.
Also, when looking at Art. 14 it is hard to dispute that a person under the sentence of death is in a separate category as compared to other prisoners. This classification looking at the scenario, state of the prisoners mind and safety is reasonable. Thus, sec 30(2) is not violative of Art. 14.
Regarding sec 56:
It was also held that the prisoners have a right to counsel provided by prison authorities to them so they can find recourse about the treatment meted out to them in jail. Majority of the prisoners are illiterate and need the assistance of the court in this regard.
Sec 30(2) is expanded to include certain liberties but is not considered ultra vires.
Sec 56 is read down and restrictions are to be imposed on it to ensure that bar fetters are used only in the rarest circumstances.