article 20 of indian constitution 2023

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Have you ever wondered if a law passed in 1947 states a particular punishment that was later amended in 1979, which reduced the punishment, then which punishment will the convict get?

If an offense is covered under two acts, then according to which act will the trial continue?

If a person is accused of an offense and forced to witness against himself… is it legal?

The answer to all these questions lies in article 20 of indian constitution 2023 Constitution. So, what is article 20? Is article 20 only for criminal cases? Is article 20 a fundamental right? 

This blog is all about Article 20 of the constitution. It contains the three concepts of Article 20, i.e., ex-post-facto law, double jeopardy, and the right against self-incrimination.

article 20 of indian constitution 2023

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Article 20: Protection against the conviction of offenses 

Article 20 of the Constitution of India is a fundamental right which safeguards the rights of an accused/convict. It lays down three concepts:

Article 20(1): Ex-post-facto law

Article 20(2): Double Jeopardy

Article 20(3): Right against self-incrimination 

Article 20(1): Ex-post-facto law 

Every law has two natures

Prospective and


Article 20 of the Constitution of India safeguards the rights of an accused/convict. Know all about Ex-post-facto Law, Double Jeopardy & Self-incrimination in detail for the preparation of UPSC exam.

Article 20 of Indian Constitution

Protection from a conviction for crimes is provided by Article 20 of Indian Constitution. No one may be found guilty of an act that was not unlawful when it was committed, and no one may receive a sentence that is larger than the law permits at the time when the offence was committed. Additionally, no one may be required to testify against themselves or be prosecuted and punished more than once for the same offence.

It offers an accused individual, whether they are a citizen, a foreigner, or a legal person like a firm or corporation, protection from arbitrary and excessive punishment. It is available to the citizens even during emergencies. As a result, it serves as a pillar of the Indian Constitution. All people, including both Indians and foreigners, are eligible for the protections provided by Article 20 of Indian Constitution.

An Overview Of Article 20 Of The Indian Constitution

article 20 of indian constitution in hindi

इस पोस्ट मे आपको Article 20 Of Indian Constitution In Hindi मे बताया गया है। अगर आपको Article 20 In Hindi मे जानकारी नहीं है कि अनुच्छेद 20 क्या है, तो इस पोस्ट मे आपको इसकी पूरी जानकारी मिलेगी।

अनुच्छेद हमारे भारतीय संविधान मे दिए गए है, जिसने हर एक प्रावधान को एक अंक दिया गया है, जिसमे Article 20 भी एक है, तो चलिए जानते है इसके बारे में।

अनुच्छेद 20 – अपराधों के लिए दोषसिद्धि के संबंध में संरक्षण
Anuched 20(१) किसी भी व्यक्ति को अपराध के रूप में आरोपित अधिनियम के कमीशन के समय लागू कानून के उल्लंघन के अलावा किसी भी अपराध के लिए दोषी नहीं ठहराया जाएगा, और न ही उस से अधिक दंड के अधीन किया जाएगा जो कानून के तहत लगाया जा सकता है। अपराध के कमीशन के समय।

Anuched 20(२) किसी भी व्यक्ति को एक ही अपराध के लिए एक से अधिक बार दंडित नहीं किया जाएगा।

Anuched 20(३) किसी भी अपराध के आरोपी व्यक्ति को अपने खिलाफ गवाह बनने के लिए मजबूर नहीं किया जाएगा।

what is article 20 of indian constitution

(1) No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

Article 20 of the Constitution provides for the protection in respect of conviction for offences. No one can be convicted for an act that was not an offence at the time of its commission, and no one can be given punishment greater than what was provided in the law prevalent at the time of its commission.
Article 20 aims to shield citizens from the Authorities' pointless activities. It safeguards against the legislative, executive, and judicial ...

article 20 of indian constitution case laws

Every day in our daily lives, we come across various news reports where someone is being accused of some offence(s).

The basic question which every legal enthusiast faces on coming across these is whether there is some sort of fundamental rights or protection for the accused ones or ones to be presented before courts for trial.

Our great Constitution makers must have also faced the same question and dilemma at the time of framing of the constitution. Thus, to deal with the same, Article 20 was included in Part III of the Indian Constitution.


If one were to particularly deliberate on the importance of Article 20 of the Indian Constitution, one would essentially look into the protection of fundamental rights relating to the conviction of offences. In simpler words, the subject matter of Article 20 can be postulated under the following conditions:

First and foremost, no individual can be convicted for an offence other than the law that is currently in place, wherein the said person cannot under any means be penalized with an enhanced punishment other than what was prescribed during the time of commission of the mentioned offence. 

No individual should be convicted for the same offence more than once, taking into regard the facts and circumstances of the said offence. 

Thirdly, no individual should be coerced or be compelled to produce evidence and disclose information that has the likelihood of being used against him/her during court proceedings.

In totality, Article 20 is considered to be one of the most vital provisions of the Indian Constitution, which cannot be set aside, even during times of Emergency.


It would be imperative to take into consideration the first clause of the mentioned provision, which bars the retrospective applicability of criminal laws, in circumstances where a new offence has been committed. Such laws, that brings into light a new offence cannot be applied in retrospection, with the purpose of penalizing an individual for an offence that had been committed in the past, as it would culminate to being violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution (depriving the person of the right to life and liberty) and would also be against the very principle of justice, reasonableness, equity, good conscience alongside being perceived as a form of arbitrary legislation.

At this juncture, it would be pertinent to take into cognizance the role of various cases in interpreting the same. The landmark judgement of Kedar Nath v. State of West Bengal witnessed the Hon’ble Supreme Court stating that any act which is declared as a criminal offence or provides penalty with respect to the same by the legislature, will be regarded to be prospective in nature, wherein the same cannot be implemented in a retrospective manner, as has been covered under Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution.

Likewise, in the case of Mohan Lal v. State of Rajasthan, the Hon’ble Court opined that Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution only covers convictions and punishments and is not applicable to trials or matters of prosecution. That being stated, trials covered under a different procedure other than what formerly existed during the commission of the said offence doesn’t come under the ambit of the mentioned provision. 

An exception pertaining to the said provision has however been brought into cognizance through the case of Rattan Lal v. State of Punjab, in which the Hon’ble Supreme Court was seen to have permitted the retrospective implementation of Criminal Laws, which was related to the reduction of punishment in the said Act. 


Whilst the literal meaning of the concept identified as jeopardy, is regarded to be a trouble or a peril, but in Criminal Law, the same implies “punishment.” However, with regard to discussing the doctrine of “double jeopardy” the mentioned concept traces its evolution to American Jurisprudence which states that no individuals shall be punished and prosecuted for the same act/ offence more than once. In order to bring forth the applicability of this provision, it is imperative that the accused proves that he has been prosecuted and penalized earlier for the very same act in a quasi-judicial or judicial proceeding. If it comes to notice that the accused had been formerly prosecuted and acquitted under the same offence, the applicability of Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution will however not apply. 

It would be pertinent to bring into light the case of Venkataraman v. Union of India, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court clarified on the notion that the aforementioned provision is only applicable to judicial punishments, wherein it must be ensured that the no person is prosecuted more than once for the same offence by the judicial authorities. Furthermore, there is also the presence of the case of Maqbool Hussain v. State of Bombay, which is a landmark judgement, that observed a situation where the individual accused was caught possessing a particular amount of gold, which was against the aspect of lex loci during that time, post which the said item was revoked by the customs authority. With the passage of time, there was in all eventuality, the confrontation of the question of whether the same amounts to the doctrine of double jeopardy. 

But the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that departmental proceedings are distinct and independent of trial proceedings by a Tribunal or a Judicial Court. The same principle was reiterated in the case of A.A. Mulla v. State of Maharashtra,wherein it was observed that the mentioned provision will not be brought into play, in circumstances, where the facts are seen to be distinct in a punishment or a subsequent offence. 

This aspect has been adequately covered under the ambit of Section 300(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 which stipulates that any person who has been prosecuted or convicted by a competent Court for any particular offence will not bring in the liability of being prosecuted again, till the former acquittal or conviction is seen to remain in force. 

The applicability of the mentioned provision does however require certain conditions to be fulfilled, which include the following:

It is essential that the accused in question is tried before a Court formerly, wherein the mentioned provision is concerned solely with proceedings and judicial prosecution.

As has been elaborated above, it is crucial that the acquittal/conviction is in force and is not set aside by any form of appeal or re-trial proceedings. 

It is also mandatory that the Court trying the concerned case is competent and is known to act under a jurisdiction which is competent and should ensure that it doesn’t exercise its power in a manner which is ultra vires in nature.

In the subsequent trial, it must be noted that the accused is not tried for the same facts and offence.


Lastly, it is also essential that the previous court proceeding ended on conviction or acquittal and in cases, where it ended post inquiry, such cases would come under the ambit of Section 300(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.



This particular provision introspects and prohibits an accused from giving any evidence or information against oneself. This protection is available at all stages and is seen to protect and bar the compulsion of the accused, both physically and mentally. It must however be noted that this protection is only with regard to the protection of personal knowledge. 

In the case of M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra, it was observed that irrespective of the concerned individual being an accused or a mere suspect, the protection that has been covered under the ambit of Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitutionwill by all means, be brought into effect. In the mentioned case, it has however been stated that if the said individual voluntarily decides to discloses information, Article 20(3) will however not apply. This provision does not give protection to witnesses under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, wherein the said category of persons get protection under Section 132 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Furthermore, in the case of State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad, this principle was clarified wherein it was stipulated that the said protection is only applicable, taking into regard the facts and circumstances of the concerned case, based upon which, the personal knowledge of the individual (meaning the accused) will be protected. 

The landmark judgement of Nandini Satpathy v. P L Dani, brought into light the prohibitive scope of Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, wherein it was postulated that this provision arises at the preliminary stages of investigation, and the protection comes into effect at the stages of enquiry, investigation and trial. Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 alongside Section 313 and 315 brings into light the stages of protection. More importantly, it was also held that Article 20(3) is considered to be in consonance with Section 161(2) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.


All in all, it can be stated that the sheer applicability of Article 20 has been brought into existence to protect individuals against the very excess of legislature, executive and the judiciary, bringing into light the importance of the doctrine, identified as the separation of powers. Such protections are not just available to Indians, but also foreigners and is thus, considered to be the bedrock of the Indian Constitution, as it ensures basic human rights to the accused and the convicted individuals.    



The makers of the Indian Constitution have incorporated Article 20 for the protection of the rights of accused ones or the ones presented before the Court for trial. Article 20 contains three clauses which deal with the issue of unnecessary actions undertaken by the Legislature, Executive & implementing authorities. Article 20 cannot be suspended during a state of emergency.

Article 20 (1): Ex post facto law

Article 20(1) makes provision against Ex post facto law. It states that no one can be prosecuted and convicted for any kind of offence in accordance with those laws which did not exist at the time of the commission of the act by the accused. Also, punishments imposed cannot be greater than those existing at the time of commission. This provision states that laws regarding criminal offences cannot be made having retrospective effects.

For Example, A went to eat noodles in restaurant X. Next day a law was made that anyone found eating in the restaurant X will be punished with a fine of Rs. 1000. A cannot be punished with a fine as he ate in the restaurant when there was no such law existing.

Ex post facto laws are of three types which are:

A law which declares some kind of act or omission as an offence for the first time after completion of that act or commission of that omission.

A law which enhances the punishment tenure or fine after commissioning of such offence.

 A law which prescribes a new procedure or changes the existing procedure for the prosecution of an offence subsequent to the commission of that offence.

Kedar Nath v. State of West Bengal

In this case, it was held by the Apex Court that whenever any action is declared to be a criminal offence or the penalty or punishment for any act is been increased, it should always be done to have prospective effect. Any such law can’t have retrospective effect according to Article 20. However, it is only the procedure of sentencing and convicting which is prohibited in this clause and not the trial itself.

Mohan Lal v. the State of Rajasthan

In this case Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was involved. It was put forward that only conviction or punishment under an ex post facto law is prohibited under Article 20 and not the trial or prosecution itself. Also, a trial under a different procedure than what existed during the commission of the act doesn’t come under the ambit of the same and can’t be struck down as unconstitutional.

Maru Ram Etc. vs Union Of India & Anr.

It was held that at the time of commencement of the offence whatever penalty exists for that offence only can be imposed on the accused. There should be no retrospective effect which makes penalties heavier.

Rattan Lal v. the State of Punjab

There exists an exception to this provision of Ex post facto laws. Apex Court said that retrospective implementation of criminal laws can be there if there is a reduction in punishment.

Article 20(2): Double jeopardy

The origin of the Doctrine of Double Jeopardy comes from American Jurisprudence of punishment. It states that no accused can be prosecuted and can be punished twice for the same offence in subsequent proceedings. It means for the same offence involving the same set of facts one should not be punished twice.

Venkataraman v. Union of India

 Supreme Court in this case said that this provision deals exclusively with judicial punishments and establishes the provision that no person should be tried twice for the same offence done by him.

Maqbool Hussain v. the State of Bombay

In this case, Apex Court gave a landmark judgement. The accused possessed some amount of gold which was lex loci at that time. Customs authority confiscated his gold. Later on, when he was prosecuted for the offence in Court it was confronted whether this amounts to Double Jeopardy or not. It was said by the Court that proceedings by the Customs Authority do not amount to proceedings by any judicial court or tribunal. It was held that the departmental proceedings are independent and different from the proceedings by the judicial court.

Article 20(3): Prohibition against Self-Incrimination

This provision means that no individual can be forced to provide any information either oral or in writing which can be used against him or her in further trial proceedings. Prohibition against self-incrimination can only be effective if the case involves a criminal offence. There is an exception to this rule too. Authorities can issue orders for the accused to bring and present documents which are under his possession as stated under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to Section 161 of CrPC, the accused is bound to answer all the questions truly and correctly leaving those which could be used against him later during the stage of the trial.

M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra

In this case, it was held that the word ‘Witness’ in this Article includes evidence in oral and document form. There is no restriction on authorities to search or seize any document. Any information which is produced voluntarily by the accused himself is permissible.

Narayanlal vs Maneck

In this case, it was held that to claim prohibition against self-incrimination there should exist a formal accusation against the individual. Only general investigations and inquiries don’t form grounds for the application of this provision.

Nandini Sathpathy vs P. L. Dani

In this case, the former Chief Minister of Orissa was ordered to appear at Police Station for examination after which a further investigation was to be started. The case was registered against her under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947. She was been interrogated by lots of questions given to her in writing. She applied for protection against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions. The Apex Court held that the provision of self-incrimination has the objective to protect the accused from unnecessary police harassment and investigations apart from the proceedings of the trial.


The object of Article 20 is to protect citizens from unnecessary actions by the Authorities. It protects from actions of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary as Parliament cannot make any law whose enforcement date is in past, Executive cannot unnecessarily harass any individual or accused. Any individual cannot be prosecuted by the judiciary for the same offence. This protection is provided to the accused whether Indian or foreigner.

Also check:   All you must know about Polygraphy Test

All you must know about Polygraphy Test


Polygraphy is the process which is used in medical practice for comprehensive study of  functioning of different body systems with particular reference to circulation, respiration and  peripheral nervous response. This technology has been attempted in forensic investigation  process. The basis of its application is the fact that mental excitation or stimulation there is  alteration of these body functions due to autonomic, particularly sympathetic excitation. 

The Polygraph testing or instrumental measures several psychological method (ex. Heart rate)  changes in these process. From the chart of those measures in the response to the question on  a Polygraph test and sometimes aided by observations during the Polygraph test examiners  infer a psychological state, namely, whether a person is telling the truth or is he lying. This  psychological phenomenon results in the mental excitation. Psychologically, the attempt  made by the individual to conceal the excitation, is known as the “defense mechanism”,  which stimulates the adrenal glands, which in response secrete the adrenaline hormone.

History Of Polygraphy

Earlier societies utilized elaborate methods of lie detection which mainly involved torture; for  instance, the middle Ages used boiling water to detect liars as it was believed honest men  would withstand it better than liars. Early devices for lie detection include an 1895 invention  of Cesare Lombroso used to measure changes in blood pressure for police cases, a 1904  device by Vittorio Benussi used to measure breathing, and an abandoned project by American  William Marston which used blood pressure to examine German prisoners of war (POWs).  Marston’s machine indicated a strong positive correlation between systolic blood pressure  and lying. 

A device recording both blood pressure and galvanic skin response was invented in 1921 by  Dr. John Augustus Larson of the University of California and first applied in law  enforcement work by the Berkeley Police Department under its nationally renowned police  chief August Vollmer. Further work on this device was done by Leonarde Keeler. 

A device which recorded muscular activity accompanying changes in blood pressure was  developed in 1945 by John E. Reid, who claimed that greater accuracy could be obtained by  making these recordings simultaneously with standard blood pressure-pulse-respiration  recordings. 

The Materials and Methods

The person is made to sit on a chair and the accessories of the instrument are properly  attached on different parts of the body. An arm cuff is placed around the arm for recording  blood pressure and pulse rate and pulse features.

An elastic belt is placed around the chest to  measure the rate and amplitude of respiration with deviations and an electrode connection is  placed, one on the tip of one side index finger for recording galvanic skin reaction (Galvanic  current is used for the purpose).  

The response is recorded graphically on a single paper from where different adverse  responses, the intensity of responses, and the time and extent of exciting reaction, can be  studied. All these measurements are recorded simultaneously in the form of traces on a graph 

paper individually. These recordings on a graph paper, collectively, are known as PolyGram.  It is evaluated to find out whether during the lie detection test the subject experienced  emotional stress from any of the questions asked, or showed no reaction. 

Procedure of interrogation and questioning to the subject 

Step 1- Preparation of the subject: 

The person is subjected to pre-examination interview during which its purpose, aim, the  process of polygraph examination to be followed, should be explained to him to his optimum  understanding. For satisfactory result of the test, the tester should have the knowledge of the  incident.  

The subject should be informed that, he would be asked certain questions, and he is to answer  the questions as yes or no. For this questions will be of suggestive in nature. The subject has  nothing to be apprehensive about any wrong study and interpretation of the Polygraphic test.  But if he deceives then, that will be reflected in the test.  

In the second stage he should be made acquainted with the questions and he has to understand  the questions well so as to give yes or no answers. Ideally, not more than 10 questions should  be asked to him in the same sitting. Initially three categories of questions are asked. 

Irrelevant questions: These are the questions which have no bearing with the incidence of  offence in any way. For example – Is your name Mr. X? Are you 28 years in age? Are you a  usual inhabitant of Y area? Do you work in Z firm?  

Relevant questions: These are the mostly directly implicating him with commission of the  offence or suggestive of having knowledge about some aspects of the offence. For example,  on 11-10-2018 at 5:00 p.m, you stabbed Mr. A at his home or saw Mr. B stabbing Mr. A, on  11-10- 2018 at 5:00 p.m. You have robed SBI bank of Rs.5 lac?. The answers for the relevant  questions should be “yes” or “no”. 

Control questions: For proper understanding and interpretation of the graphic curves  imprinted with answers and mental reaction of the subject to different relevant questions,  control question are asked, which are mostly generalized in nature, related to some minor bad  acts which the person might have committed some time in his early life and should have not  forgotten.

E.g., Have you at any time during your childhood, stolen some money from your  mother’s purse for purchasing some playing materials? Did you ever think to make money by  way of bank robbery or some such way? 

Step 2: Proper examination 

The person to be examined is made to sit on a polygraph chair in such a way that he faces the  instrument and the operator faces him so that during questions and answers he can observe  the facial reactions of the subject. The different settings of test constitutes: 

• first test 

• card test  

• 3rd test 

• mixed question test 

• yes test

• guilt complex test  

• repeat test (re-examination test) 

• peak of tension test. 

Critical Analysis of Polygraph test 

(1) The test does no longer inform as to whether the person is truthful or not. Test only  display approximately the physiological adjustments which must be interpreted by using the  expert.  

(2) In asking the question no technology is worried and it utterly relies on to deception and on  the information of the tester.  

(3) An individual who can manipulate his feelings to a super extent can still inform a lie, in  case, if an individual has control on himself by way of practice of yoga or in any other case,  this check is sure to get fail. 

Constitutional validity of polygraph test Judicial Response 

The lie Detection division renders valuable Polygraph aids in a number of important  investigations conducted by CBI, Judiciary, Delhi Police and other law enforcement agencies.  The Lie detection division maintain latest version of the computerized Polygraph equipment.

The objectives of Lie detection are:  

• To verify the statements of suspects, witnesses and the complaints.  

• To economise and accelerate the process of investigation by screening innocent person  where a large number of suspects are involved.  

• Scientific interrogation of suspects in white collar crimes.  

• To corroborate the findings of investigation by investigating officers. The main legal  provisions which governs the expert evidence (Lie Detector test), are in Indian Constitution,  Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act. In Indian Constitution there are various  provisions which are related with the protection of the accused person. 

In the Constitution of India, the provision of life, liberty and freedom has been given under  Article 20 and 21. According to Article 20(3) ―no person accused of any offence shall be  compelled to be a witness against himself‖. This article applies only to an accused and only  speaks of self-incrimination evidence by way of compulsion. 

Under this Article only an accused person can avail the protection if he is compelled to be a  witness against himself. Every civilized society guarantees the right against self incrimination as a fundamental of fair trial in a criminal offence. According to this principle,  a person accused of a criminal offence cannot be forced to incriminate himself or yield  evidence against himself. 

Landmark Cases in India 

1.State of Bombay v. Kathi kalu Oghad 

The Hon‘ble Supreme Court observed that conducting the Polygraph by the police without  the consent of accused person is clear violation of article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. 

The right against forced self incrimination is enshrined in Article 20(3) of the Indian  Constitution as well as in the Criminal Procedure Code.  

In this case the Bombay High Court had to decide whether compelling the accused person to  undergo this test would violate his right to silence and compel him to provide evidence  against himself. In this case Palshikar J. held that the right against self-incrimination applies  only to court proceeding and not to police interrogation. 

2. Selvi v. State of Karnataka 

The court held that Indian constitution protect the individuals right against self incrimination  and article 20(3) give right to accuse to not be a compelled witness against himself. The main  idea behind article 20(3) is to protect accuse against self incrimination and to save accuse  from becoming an evidence against himself. 

After hearing the argument from both sides Supreme Court has proposed certain guideline  which is needed to be followed before enabling polygraph analysis test and also said that  consent of accuse need to be taken before enabling polygraph analysis otherwise it will be  clear infringement of right against self incrimination of Indian Constitution. 

Other cases where polygraph test was used 

Polygraph techniques have grown in recent criminal investigations and evidence, there is  increasing concern about the factors that may adversely affect their accuracy and their uses in  administrative and judicial proceeding. 

If Polygraph test conducted in a rape case: In Bangalore, Karnataka, one Pratibha Srikanth, a  woman employee of BPO was raped and murdered. The charge was framed on a driver hired  by the company. The driver was subjected to polygraph test, brain mapping test, and narco  analysis test. 

Polygraph test conducted in Shivani Bhatnagar murder case: The Indian Express  Journalist Shivani Bhatnagar was murdered at her East Delhi apartment on 23rd January,  1999. In this case murder charge was framed on a Haryana Cadre I.G. Police Mr. R.K.  Sharma and. five other accused persons. The polygraph tests were conducted on Shivani‘s  husband, her sister, brothers and brother-in-law.  

Polygraph test conducted on Nithari’s serial killing accused: In Nithari, Noida (U.P.), a  businessman Mohinder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli were accused of  murdering 30 missing children. At the time of writing this book, the CB1 is investigating into  the case.

In scientific tests suspected killer admitted serial killing of missing children  investigating agencies used polygraph, brain mapping and narcoanalysis tests on both of them  and also on a female servant who allegedly lured children who were killed by both duo. 

Polygraph test conducted on Mumbai serial killer: Ravindra Kantrole, a suspect of serial  killing of seven people in South Mumbai in Marine Drive and Azad Maidan Police Station,  was subjected to scientific tests like polygraph, narco analysis and higher version of brain  mapping tests [i.e., Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature (BEOS)]. During these tests he  confessed his involvement in the crimes.

Article 20 Of The Indian Constitution

Protection against conviction for crimes is covered under Article 20 of the Indian Constitution of Part III. Our constitution attempts to safeguard everyone’s interests. This clause was put into place to stop law enforcement from taking advantage of or harming convicts or convicted individuals. It is a fundamental clause in the Indian Constitution and cannot be waived in times of emergency.

Ex post facto law, double jeopardy, and the ban on self-incrimination will all be covered in this article as well as protection from a conviction for crimes.

What Is Article 20 Of The Indian Constitution?

The protection against conviction for crimes is outlined in Article 20.

No person may be found guilty of an offence unless they violated a law that was in effect at the time the Act charged as an offence, nor may they receive a punishment that is larger than what might have been imposed under the law that was in effect at the time the offence was committed.

No one may be tried and punished more than once for the same offence.

No one accused of a crime may be made a witness against themselves.

Article 20 (1): Ex Post Facto Law

The law of Ex post facto is prohibited by Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution. According to this, no one may be charged with or found guilty of a crime under any laws that were in effect when the accused committed the crime in question. Additionally, the penalties imposed cannot be harsher than they were at the time the offense was committed. According to this clause, rules pertaining to criminal offenses cannot be passed with backward-looking implications.

There are three categories of ex post facto laws:

legislation that, for the first time following the completion of the act or commission of the omission. It defines a certain kind of act or omission as an offense.

a law that lengthens the sentence or increases the fine after the offense is committed.

a law that specifies a new procedure or modifies the current procedure for the prosecution of an individual offence. It is after the offense has been committed.

Kedar Nath v. State Of West Bengal

In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India observed that anytime a legislative body declares an action to be a criminal offence and/or imposes a penalty for it, it is always prospective in character and cannot be put into effect retroactively to uphold what is being claimed under Article 20 (1).

However, only the process of convicting and sentencing is outlawed by this article; the trial itself is not. Accordingly, this article and the ex post facto law concept prohibit the questioning of a person who has been charged in accordance with a specific procedure.

Mohan Lal v. The State Of Rajasthan

The court held that only conviction and/or sanctions under an ex post facto statute are forbidden under Article 20 and not the trial or prosecution itself in the case of Mohan Lal v. State of Rajasthan (AIR 2015 SC 2098), which included the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Additionally, a trial conducted according to a distinct method than that which was in place at the time the act was committed is not included in the same and cannot be declared unconstitutional.

Maru Ram Etc. vs Union Of India & Anr.

It was announced that the accused can only be subjected to the title of penalties that are there at the time of commencement of the offense. There shouldn’t be a retroactive effect that increases fines.

Rattan Lal v. The State Of Punjab

There is an exception to this requirement for ex post facto legislation. The Apex Court ruled that criminal legislation may be applied retroactively if the punishment is reduced,

Article 20(2): Double Jeopardy

The American Jurisprudence of Punishment serves as the foundation. It is the foundation for the Double Jeopardy Doctrine. It provides that no defendant may face charges for the same violation twofold and receive the same punishment. It states that a person should not face punishment twice for an identical violation involving the same set of circumstances.

Venkataraman v. Union Of India

In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that this clause only deals with judicial punishments and specified that no one should face a second trial for an identical violation.

Maqbool Hussain v. The State Of Bombay

In this instance, the Apex Court made legal history. Lex loci gold was in the accused’s hands at the time. His gold was taken by the customs officers. The question of whether this constituted double jeopardy was brought up when he was subsequently charged with the offense and showed up in court. The Court ruled that the Customs Authority’s proceedings are not comparable to those of any court or tribunal. According to the ruling, departmental proceedings are distinct from those of the judicial court and are autonomous from one another.

Article 20(3): Prohibition Against Self-Incrimination

According to this clause, no one can be made to give any information—oral or written—that could be used against them in subsequent legal procedures. A criminal offence must be involved for the prohibition of self-incrimination to be effective. This rule also has an exception.

According to Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, authorities may order the accused to bring and present whatever documents he may have in his possession. They must present whatever documents he may have in their possession. The accused must honestly and accurately respond to all questions, leaving out any that might be used against him at a later stage of matters of the trial, per Section 161 as mentioned in the Criminal Procedure Code.

M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra

It was ruled about the word “Witness” as used in this article. It refers to both oral and written testimony in this particular case. Authorities are able to conduct a search anywhere they like and seize any document. Any details the accused voluntarily offers are acceptable.

Narayanlal vs Maneck

In this case, a major fact was determined. It mentioned that in order to use the prohibition on self-incrimination, a formal accusation against the person was necessary. This rule cannot be applied based only on general investigations and inquiries.

Nandini Sathpathy vs P. L. Dani

An additional probe was to begin once the former chief minister of Orissa appeared at the police station for questioning on this issue. In accordance with the 1947 Prevention of Corruption Act, a case was filed against her. She was subjected to a variety of written interrogations. She requested protection from self-incrimination and declined to provide any information. The Supreme Court oversaw that the prohibition against self-incrimination serves to shield the accused from pointless police interrogations and harassment outside of the trial’s proceedings.


The purpose of Article 20 is widely important. It is covered in Part III under the Right to freedom. It is to protect citizens from the needless actions and restrictions of the Authorities. It protects the legislative, executive, and judicial processes since Parliament is not allowed to make laws that have passed their effective dates, and the Executive is not allowed to harass anybody or any accusation without cause. Multiple defendants cannot be accused of the same crime by the legal system. Whether the accused is an Indian or a foreigner, they are afforded this protection.


Which Article Of The Indian Constitution Is Dealing With Protection With Respect To Conviction For Offences?

The Indian Constitution’s Part III, Article 20, addresses protection service against conviction for crimes.

How Protection Against Conviction For The Offence Provided In India? When Article 20 Was Imposed?

The “Article 20” has only partially provided the protection that many accused individuals needed because it was confined by several restrictions. As a result, cases have been divided into a variety of categories that are related to crimes. Ex post facto law, double jeopardy, and self-incrimination were the included elements.

It was imposed in 1949 in the Indian constitution.

How Does The Indian Constitution According To Article 20 Protect An Accused?

A fundamental right that protects an accused person’s rights is Article 20. It establishes three ideas:

1. Ex-post-facto law, Article 20(1)

2. Double Jeopardy, Article 20(2)

3. Right not to be used against oneself, Article 20(3)

Which Clause Is Applicable While Protecting An Individual From Being Punished Twice?

Clause 2 of Article 20 is applicable while protecting an individual from being punished twice.

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