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Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.)1978 SC

Nandini Satpathy vs. P.L.Dani 1978 SC

The judgment of Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.)1978 SC is the landmark judgment on Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution and Section 161 (2) CRPC. You can read below the details of the Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.) case. This is a very important judgment in which the Right to remain silent is introduced as the Fundamental Right under Indian Constitution.

FACTS about the Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.)1978 SC 1978 SC

The appellant, a former Chief Minister of Orissa and one time Minister at the National level were directed to appear at the Vigilance Police Station for a case registered against her by DSP Vigilance for corruption.

During the course of the investigation, it was that she was interrogated with reference to a long string of questions, given to her in writing.

Exercising her right (in Nandini Satpathy vs. P.L.Dani) of guaranteed under Art. 20 (3) of the Constitution, the appellant refused to answer, with the result a complaint was filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Vigilance (Directorate of Vigilance) Cuttack, against the appellant, under s. 179 I.P.C.

POINTS IN CONTROVERSY in the Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.)1978 SC case

• Is a person likely to be accused of crimes i.e. a suspect accused, entitled to the sanctuary of silence as one ‘accused of any offense’?

• Does the bar against self – incrimination operate not merely with reference to a particular accusation in regard to which the police investigator interrogates, or does it extend also to other pending or potential accusations outside the specific investigation which has led to the questioning?

• Does the constitutional shield of silence swing into action only in Court or can it barricade the accused ‘against incriminating interrogation at the stages of the police investigation?

CONTINUE the points to controversy in Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani case

What is the ambit of the cryptic expression ‘compelled to be a witness against himself’ occurring in Article 20 (3) of the Constitution?

• Does being ‘a witness against oneself’ include testimonial tendency to incriminate or probative probability of guilt flowing from the answer?

•What are the parameters of Section 161 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code?

• Does ‘any person’ in Section 161 CRPCn Does the procedure Code include an accused person or only a witness?

• When does an answer self-incriminate or tend to expose one to a charge?

•What distinguishing features mark off nocent and innocent, permissible and impermissible interrogations and answers.

•Does mens rea form a necessary component of section 179 I.P.C., and, if so, what is its precise nature? Can a mere apprehension that any answer has a guilty potential salvage the accused or bring into play the exclusionary rule?

•Where do we demarcate the boundaries of the benefit of the doubt in the setting of section 161 (2) C. R. P. Code and Section 179 I.P.C?

DECISION in Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.)1978 SC case

• Section. 161 CrPC enables the police to examine the accused during the investigation

• The prohibitive sweep of Art. 20 (3) goes back to the stage of police interrogation not, as contended commencing in Court only. Provisions The provisions of Art. 20 (3) and section 161 (2) substantially cover the same area so far as police investigations are concerned

• The ban on self-accusation and the right to silence, while on investigation or trial is underway, goes beyond that case and protects the accused in regard to other offenses pending or imminent, which may deter him from voluntary disclosure of incriminatory matter.

• Compelled testimony ‘must be read as evidence procured not merely by physical threats or violence but by psychic torture, atmospheric pressure, environmental coercion tiring interrogative prolixity, overbearing and intimidatory methods

• If there is any mode of pressure, subtle or crude, mental or physical, direct or indirect, but sufficiently substantial, applied by the policeman for obtaining information from an accused strongly suggestive of guilt it becomes compelled testimony violative of Art. 20 (3).

• A police officer is clearly a person in authority. Insistence on answering is a form of pressure especially in the atmosphere of the police station unless certain safeguards erasing duress are adhered to.

•Accused – The accused person cannot be forced to answer questions. merely because the answers thereto are not implicative when viewed in isolation and confined to that particular case. He is entitled to keep his mouth shut if the answer sought has a reasonable prospect of exposing him to guilt in some other accusation actual or imminent, even though the investigation underway is not with reference to that. In determining the incriminatory character of an answer the accused is entitled to consider and the Court while adjudging will take note of the setting, the totality of circumstances, the equation, personal and social which have a bearing on making an answer substantially innocent but in effect. guilty in import.

• Many of the questions put by the police are not. Self-incriminatory ( the act of incriminating oneself or exposing oneself to prosecution, esp. by giving evidence or testimony), remote apprehensions are wholly irrelevant. To answer is a citizen’s duty; failure is asking for conviction.

• If, after the whole examination is over, the officer concerned reasonably regards any refusal to answer to be a willful violation under the pretense of immunity from self-incrimination, he will be free to prosecute the alleged offender after studying the refusal to answer in the light of the principles earlier set out.

•Section 179 I.P.C. has a component of mens rea and where there is no wilful refusal but only unwitting omission or innocent warding off, the offense is not made out.

•The right to consult an advocate of this choice shall not be denied to any person who is arrested.

•After an examination of the accused, where a lawyer of his choice is not available, the police officer should take him to a magistrate, doctor, or other willing and responsible nonpartisan official or non-official and allow a secluded audience where he may unburden himself beyond the view of the police and tell whether he has suffered duress (threat, violence, constrains by police), which should be followed by judicial or some other custody for him where the police cannot teach him.

Nandini Satpathy vs.Dani (P.L.) is the landmark judgment and the Right to remain silent is declared as a Fundamental Right in the finding of this case. And Right to Remain Silent is come Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution.

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