Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
India’s Geneva Conventions Act (1960) provides: “If any person within or without India commits or attempts to commit, or abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions he shall be punished.”
In 2008, in the Noor Aga case, India’s Supreme Court allowed an appeal against the decision of the Additional Sessions Judge, who convicted an Afghan national of illegal import of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances to India. While addressing the appellant’s right to fair trial, the Court stated:
Application of international law in a case involving war crime[s] was considered by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in State v. Basson … Basson case, 2004] opining:
When allegations of such serious nature are at issue, and where the exemplary value of constitutionalism as against lawlessness is the very issue at stake, it is particularly important that the judicial and prosecutorial functions be undertaken with rigorous and principled respect for basic constitutional rights. The effective prosecution of war crimes and the rights of the accused to a fair trial are not antagonistic concepts. On the contrary, both stem from the same constitutional and humanitarian foundation, namely the need to uphold the rule of law and the basic principles of human dignity, equality and freedom.
In its judgment in the Parliament Attack case in 2005, the Supreme Court of India stated:
Section 24 [of the Indian Evidence Act] lays down the obvious rule that a confession made under any inducement, threat or promise becomes irrelevant in a criminal proceeding. Such inducement, threat or promise need not be proved to the hilt. If it appears
to the court that the making of the confession was caused by any inducement, threat or promise proceeding from a person in authority, the confession is liable to be excluded from evidence. The expression “appears” connotes that the Court need not go to the extent of holding that the threat etc. has in fact been proved. If the facts and circumstances emerging from the evidence adduced make it reasonably probable that the confession could be the result of threat, inducement or pressure, the court will refrain from acting on such confession, even if it be a confession made to a Magistrate or a person other than police officer.
[emphasis in original]
India’s Armed Forces Tribunal Act (2007) states:
15.(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, the Tribunal shall exercise, on and from the appointed day, all the jurisdiction, powers and authority exercisable under this Act in relation to appeal against any order, decision, finding or sentence passed by a court martial or any matter connected therewith or incidental thereto.
(2) Any person aggrieved by an order, decision, finding or sentence passed by a court martial may prefer an appeal in such form, manner and within such time as may be prescribed.
(4) The Tribunal shall allow an appeal against conviction by a court martial where
(a) the finding of the court martial is legally not sustainable due to any reason whatsoever; or
(b) the finding involves wrong decision on a question of law; or
(c) there was a material irregularity in the course of the trial resulting in miscarriage of justice,
but, in any other case, may dismiss the appeal where the Tribunal considers that no miscarriage of justice is likely to be caused or has actually resulted to the appellant:
Provided that no order dismissing the appeal by the Tribunal shall be passed unless such order is made after recording reasons therefor in writing.
(5) The Tribunal may allow an appeal against conviction, and pass appropriate order thereon.
30. (1) Subject to the provisions of section 31, an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court against the final decision or order of the Tribunal (other than an order passed under section 19):
Provided that such appeal is preferred within a period of ninety days of the said decision or order:
Provided further that there shall be no appeal against an interlocutory order of the Tribunal.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court as of right from any order or decision of the Tribunal in the exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt:
Provided that an appeal under this sub-section shall be filed in the Supreme Court within sixty days from the date of the order appealed against.
(3) Pending any appeal under sub-section (2), the Supreme Court may order that –
(a) the execution of the punishment or the order appealed against be suspended; or
(b) if the appellant is in confinement, he be released on bail:
Provided that where an appellant satisfies the Tribunal that he intends to prefer an appeal, the Tribunal may also exercise any of the powers conferred under clause (a) or clause (b), as the case may be.
India’s Assam Rifles Act (2006) states:
(1) When any person subject to this Act has been acquitted or convicted of an offence by an Assam Rifles Court or by a criminal court or has been dealt with under section 62 or section 64 or section 65 or section 66, he shall not be liable to be tried again for the same offence by an Assam Rifles Court or dealt with under the said sections.
(2) When any person, subject to this Act has been acquitted or convicted of an offence by an Assam Rifles Court or has been dealt with under section 62 or section 64 or section 65 or section 66, he shall not be liable to be tried again by a criminal court for the same offence or on the same facts.
India’s Sashastra Seema Bal Act (2007) states:
(1) When any person, subject to this Act has been acquitted or convicted of an offence by a Force Court or by a criminal court or has been dealt with under section 56 or section 58, he shall not be liable to be tried again for the same offence by a Force Court or dealt with under the said sections.
(2) When any person, subject to this Act, has been acquitted or convicted of an offence by a Force Court or has been dealt with under section 56 or section 58, he shall not be liable to be tried again by a criminal court for the same offence or on the same facts.