Define the term "double jeopardy" in the context of criminal law

Answer By law4u team

In India, the concept of "double jeopardy" in criminal law is enshrined in Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India. The principle is designed to protect individuals from being tried or punished twice for the same offense. Article 20(2) states: "No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once." Key aspects of the double jeopardy principle in the Indian context include: Protection Against Multiple Prosecutions: Once a person has been prosecuted and punished or acquitted for a particular offense, they cannot be subjected to another prosecution for the same offense based on the same set of facts. Same Offense: The protection against double jeopardy applies only to the same offense. If a person is charged with multiple offenses arising from the same set of facts, double jeopardy may not bar prosecution for the additional charges. Same Sovereign Authority: Similar to the concept in other jurisdictions, the protection applies within the jurisdiction of the same sovereign authority. If a person is tried and punished or acquitted in a state court for a particular offense, they cannot be retried for the same offense in the same state court. Exceptions: There are exceptions to the double jeopardy rule. For example, if a case ends in a mistrial, the accused may be retried. Additionally, if a person successfully appeals a conviction and the appellate court orders a new trial, the retrial would not violate the double jeopardy principle. While the language of Article 20(2) addresses the protection against being "prosecuted and punished" more than once, Indian courts have interpreted it broadly to cover various stages of criminal proceedings, including investigations and trials. It's important to note that the specifics of how double jeopardy is applied in India may be influenced by both constitutional provisions and statutory laws, and legal interpretations may evolve based on judicial decisions. Individuals seeking legal advice on matters related to double jeopardy in India should consult with qualified legal professionals familiar with the current legal landscape.

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