Understanding our criminal justice system sample paper

Q1. What does Article 39A of our Constitution state?


Article 39A of the Constitution states that it places a duty upon the State to provide a lawyer to any citizen who is unable to engage one due to poverty or other disability.

Q2. What do the Constitution and the law state?


The Constitution and the law states that all the persons should carry out their roles in a proper manner. In other words, it means all need to work together to ensure that every citizen, irrespective of class, caste, gender, religious or ideological background, gets a fair trial when accused.

Q3. What is the role of the judge?


A judge has to play the following roles:

  • To conduct the trial impartially and in an open court.
  • To look at all the evidence and hear witnesses presented by the prosecution and the defence.
  • To decide whether the accused is guilty or innocent on the basis of the evidence presented to him and in accordance with the law.
  • If the accused is found guilty, then the judge has to convict and sentence the person in accordance with the law.
  • A judge may sentence the person depending on what the law prescribes, i.e. either jail or impose a fine or both.

Q4. What guidelines have been laid down by the Supreme Court for the police to follow?


The guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for the police are

  • They are not supposed or allowed to torture, shoot or beat anyone during their interrogation.
  • They cannot impose any form of punishment on a person even for petty offences.
  • They need to conduct investigations in accordance with the law and with full respect for human rights.

Q5. What is the role of the public prosecutor?


A public prosecutor is a government-appointed attorney who initiates and pursues court cases against suspected criminals. In other words, he is the one that initiates and carries out a legal action, especially criminal proceedings. The role of a public prosecutor is

  • He has to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the government. He has no role to play in the investigation as that is carried out by the police.
  • Being an officer of the government, it is his/her duty to act in an impartial manner and present the full and material facts, witnesses and evidence before the court so as to enable the court to decide the case.

Q6. What is fair trial?


A fair trial is defined as a trial by a neutral and fair court which is conducted so as to accord each party the due process rights required by applicable law.

  • The right to a fair trial applies in civil and criminal proceedings along with the various rights associated with a fair trial.
  • In a fair trial, the accused’s legal rights are safeguarded and respected.
  • A fair trail proceeds on inquiry and renders judgement only after the trial.
  • The necessary elements of a fair trial are an adequate hearing and an impartial tribunal, free from any interest, bias or prejudice.
  • A fair trial ensures that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is upheld.

Q7. What does Article 22 of our Constitution state?


Article 22 of our Constitution states that every person has a Fundamental Right to be defended by a lawyer.

Q8. What do you understand by the term ‘defence lawyer’?


A defence lawyer is an attorney who represents the accused party in legal matters, including in a court of law. In simpler words, he/she is an advocate who pleads on behalf of the accused person.

Q9. What does Article 22 of the Constitution and criminal law guarantee every arrested person?


Article 22 of the Constitution and criminal law guarantee every arrested person the following Fundamental Rights:

  • The Right to be informed at the time of arrest of the offence for which the person is being arrested.
  • The Right to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
  • The Right not to be ill treated or tortured during arrest or in custody.
  • Confessions made in police custody cannot be used as evidence against the accused.
  • Boys under 15 years of age and women cannot be called to the police station for questioning.

Q10. Write a short note on FIR.


The full form of FIR is First Information Report.

  • It is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognisable offence.
  • It can be filed either verbally or in a written manner.
  • It can be filed by the victim, witness or anybody who has knowledge of the crime.
  • It can be filed with a police officer at the police station.
  • It is compulsory for an officer in charge of a police station to register an FIR whenever a person gives information about a cognisable offence.
  • It mentions the date, time and the place of offense, including the description of the events.
  • If the identity of the accused persons and witnesses is known, then that too is mentioned.
  • It declares the name and address of the complainant.
  • It has a specific form in which the police register an FIR, and it is signed by the complainant.
  • The complainant has a legal right to get a free copy of the FIR from the police.
  • Only after an FIR is filed, do the police start with their investigations.