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Describe the protection in respect of conviction for an offence provided in Constitution.

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

QUESTION | Describe the protection in respect of conviction for an offence provided in Constitution. Compare the same with the analogous provisions in Criminal Law | QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED.


How important is this question ? This question one of 2019 Madhya Pradesh Judicial Service Examination Mains under constitutional law.


How to answer this question ?

1. Read the question twice – this question has two parts, therefore make side heading for each part so that you do not miss any part of the question.

2. Identify the legal provisions that must be quoted under constitutional law and criminal law

3. Plan the cases to be quoted while explaining the provisions

Start writing the answers in lucid style by retaining key words and apt legal terminologies



How to post my answer ?

STEP 1 : Take a sheet of paper and write the answer in it.

STEP 2 : Take a picture of it and post it in the comment section.


ANSWER TO THE QUESTION ASKED | Article 20 of the Constitution of India provides protection to accused in respect of conviction for offences. It provides protection to accused under the three different clauses of Article 20 as under:

i. Ex-post Facto law

ii. Double jeopardy

iii. Self- incrimination

Ex-post facto law is dealt under Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution which provides for retrospective effect of punishment for the offence committed by the accused.

a) It provides that accused person would be liable for conviction in case of violation of any law which was in force at time of commission of such act amounting to an offence.

b) If the act committed by a person did not amount to an offence or violation of any law at the time of its commission then, he would not be liable for such act.

c) Accused shall be liable for only such punishment which is prescribed for the act committed/ violation of law at the time of its commission and to no greater penalty.

d) If any punishment is enhanced for the offence committed by accused post he committed that act would not have any effect on accused case i.e. post facto enhancement in imprisonment would not have retrospective application.

In landmark case of Kedar Nath v. West Bengal,(1953) the Supreme Court observed that, whenever an act is declared as a criminal offence and/or provides penalty for same by the legislature, it is always prospective in nature and can’t be implemented retrospectively to uphold what is being said under Article 20(1).

In Maru Ram v. Union of India and Anr. the Court observed that Article 20(1) also includes the rule that there will be no retrospective infliction of penalties heavier than those existing ones at the time of commencement of the offence.

Double Jeopardy as provided under Article 20(2) of the Constitution safeguards the person from double prosecution and punishment.

Related maxim : This provision is based on the maxim, Nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa” i.e. ‘no person can be prosecuted and punished twice for the same offence in subsequent proceedings’.

a) It provides that any person who has been already prosecuted and punished shall not be prosecuted and punished again for the same offence.

b) It simply means when one person is tried for a criminal offence and convicted will not face second trial for the same charges.

Self- incrimination is prohibited by provisions of Article 20(3). It provides that accused cannot be compelled to become a witness against himself.

Related Maxim |nemo tenetur prodere accussare seipsum” i.e. ‘no man is bound to accuse himself’.

Protection under criminal law

Section 300 of CrPC incorporates oldest and fundamental principle of criminal justice also known as ‘protection against Double Jeopardy’.

Important points related to provisions of Section 300 of CrPC

a) Protection is available to all persons under Section 300 of CrPC including the citizens or non-citizens, Natural and artificial persons.

b) It will apply if the end result of trial is acquittal or conviction of person.

Comparison under Constitution and Criminal law

Section 300 of CrPC is based on two principles:

a) Autre fois acquit – previously acquitted

b) Autre fois convict – previously convicted

Thus, application of Section 300 CrPC is wider as applies to both cases when the accused is either acquitted or convicted. Article 20(2) covers cases only where the prosecution results in conviction of the person.

In State of Tamil Nadu v. Nalini, 1999 SC, the apex court held that Section 300 of CrPC contains a bar against second trial of accused of same offence irrespective the fact that accused was acquitted or convicted for that offence at the trial. On the other hand, Article 20(2) is narrower than Section 300 CrPC as it provides protection only if the person is convicted.

OWN CONCLUSION – Give your own conclusion.

401 views9 comments

9 commenti

10 ago 2021

This is a great initiative for MPJS. As the mains is fast approaching, please continue this great initiative unlike the earlier ones.

Mi piace
Risposta a

Dear Aspirant , Sure we will continue the same. Please do participate. Thank You Lx team

Mi piace

Singara Nlu
Singara Nlu
08 ago 2021

I too think article 20 only comes because 21 is not about conviction, its only about life and liberty. Then 22 is about rights of a person arrested and arrest is still not conviction.

Mi piace

material law
material law
08 ago 2021

Hi, I think only article 20 comes into picture ! who agrees with me ??? 😀

Mi piace
10 ago 2021
Risposta a

Criminal law has to be discussed since it is asked in the question itself.

Mi piace

Dear Aspirants, Kindly let us know your opinion on the question posted. What will be your answer to it ? Get Xpert assistance.

Mi piace
Risposta a

Dear sir,

We will surely resume the initiative soon. You can post the answers in the comment section.

Mi piace

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