International criminal court ICCENCYCLOPEDIA

Encyclopedia of Criminal Law [Global]


The fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence is that an accused is presumed to be innocent till he is proved to be guilty. It is equally well settled that suspicion howsoever strong can never take the place of proof. There is indeed a long distance between accused may have committed the offence and must have committed the offence, which must be traversed by the prosecution by adducing reliable and cogent evidence. Presumption of innocence has been recognised as a human right which cannot be wished away. Every accused is presumed to be innocent unless his guilt is proved. The Presumption of innocence is human right. Subject to the statutory exceptions, the said principle forms the basis of criminal jurisprudence.

An accused is presumed to be innocent till he is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is a principle that cannot be sacrificed on the altar of inefficiency, inadequacy or inept handling of the investigation by the police. The benefit arsing from any such faulty investigation ought to go to the accused and not to the prosecution. So also, the quality and creditability of the evidence required to bring home the guilt of the accused cannot be different in cases where the investigation is satisfactory vis-a-vis cases in which it is not. The rules of evidence and the standards by which the same has to be evaluated also cannot be different in cases depending upon whether the case has any communal overtones or in an ordinary crime for passion, gain or avarice. The prosecution it is axiomatic, must establish its case against the accused by leading evidence that is accepted by the standards that are known to criminal jurisprudence regardless whether the crime is committed in the course of communal disturbances or otherwise. In short there can only be one set of rules and standards when it comes to trials and judgment in criminal cases unless the statute provides for any thing specially applicable to a particular case or class of cases. Beyond that we do not consider it necessary or proper to say anything.