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This article is written by Lahari Vennam of KL University, Andhra Pradesh, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


This research study examined the extent and nature of Compulsory Self-incrimination as a Privilege. Nemon tenetur seipum accusare, which translates to “No man is obliged to accuse himself,” is the Latin proverb upon which this privilege is founded. It is crucial that every single person in the society should be aware of this right. A person cannot be forced to testify against himself. The right to self-incrimination is likewise safeguarded and protected under the Indian Constitution’s Article 20(3). The other regulations of other nations would also be included in this essay. It’s crucial to concentrate on how the statutes have been interpreted by the courts.

According to Article 20(3)[1] of the Indian Constitution, “No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself,” the accused is protected from being forced to testify against themselves. Nemo teneteur prodre accussare seipsum, which literally translates to “No Man Is Obligated to be a Witness Against Himself,” serves as its foundation.

Keywords: Guilty, witness, Protection, Testify, Fundamental Right, Self-incrimination.


Self-incrimination is the deliberate or inadvertent act of divulging information that might implicate you in a crime or subject you to legal action.

According to Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, the right against self-incrimination is a fundamental right as well as a legislative one. It is predicated on the idea that no one can be made to testify against himself. The individual suspected of committing an offense is not subjected to any coercion or force. It is a “Fundamental Right” that protects a person or a company that is accused of committing a crime. Certain rights are also included for them in order to safeguard their interests.

The ideas established by English and American jurisprudence are used in order to incorporate the aforementioned clause into the Indian Constitution. According to legal precedent, no one should ever be pushed or coerced into providing testimony that may lead to their being found guilty.

The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Article 11.1”[2]

 This UDHR provision focuses specifically on the guarantees and safeguards that must be provided to someone who is accused of a crime because, since innocence is presumed until proven guilty, a guaranteed right to the right to a defence, must exist for the accused.

An Illustration of Self-Incrimination:

 When a police officer threatens or uses force to coerce an accused person into testifying against himself, that person has the right to refuse to speak up and not incriminate himself. This is known as the right against self-incrimination. Therefore, it is crucial to safeguard the individual unless and until they are proven guilty. Until and unless he is proven guilty in court, no one may be considered guilty.

This is another instance of speaking or providing testimony that may result in criminal charges or conviction. It is common knowledge that the prohibition on self-incrimination is a legal safeguard against being forced to testify against oneself in a criminal case.

The right against self-incrimination in India is protected by the constitution. According to India’s constitution, Article 20, paragraph 3, no one accused of a crime may be forced to testify against himself. All criminal actions, including inquiries and trials, are protected by this safeguard.[3]

  • Constitutional Provision supporting Individual’s Right against Self-incrimination.

Article 20 The Individual’s Right against Self-Incrimination is supported by a constitutional provision.

An accused person is protected under Article 20 against arbitrary and disproportionate punishment, regardless of whether they are a citizen, a foreigner, or a legal person like a firm or corporation. It has three clauses that work in that direction:

It includes provisions pertaining to No double jeopardy, no ex post facto laws, and no self-incrimination. Absence of self-incrimination No one should ever be forced to testify against themselves when they are being accused of a crime. Both oral and written evidence are covered under the prohibition against self-incrimination. Additionally, it only includes criminal processes and not civil actions that do not include criminal offenses.[4]

In M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra,[5] A person whose name appears in the initial information report as an accused may seek protection under Article 20(3), it was determined in the case of M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra. When a police investigation is ongoing and a person is considered to be an accused, or even if his name is not stated in the FIR as an accused, the right against self-incrimination is applicable.



Nobody may be forced to testify against themselves in a criminal prosecution, according to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

According to judicial interpretation, the aforementioned clause has a fairly broad meaning. Both parties and witnesses in criminal and civil proceedings are now considered to be covered by the privilege against self-incrimination. It covers all disclosures, including retorts that, by themselves, constitute evidence for a criminal conviction or a piece of the chain of evidence needed for eviction. Documentary evidence is also included. Everyone has the protection from being compelled to testify against themselves under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.[6]


It is important to the Common Law that a person accused of any crime not be forced to search for records or anything that could implicate him. Except in rare circumstances, no witness—whether a party or a stranger—is compelled to respond to a question or provide a document that has the potential to subject them to a criminal prosecution, fine, or forfeiture.


According to Article 20(3), no one accused of a crime may be forced to testify against himself.

In common criminal law doctrine, the privilege against self-incrimination is a basic principle.

Only those who are suspected, or those who have had a formal charge of committing an offense leveled against them, are eligible for the privilege described in article (3), which in the usual course may lead to a prosecution.

Some of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ provisions pertaining to the right to quiet. Everyone accused of committing a crime has the legal right to a public trial with all the protections required for their defense, during which they will be deemed innocent unless proven guilty in accordance with the law.

Article 14(3)(g) of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party, stipulates that no one may be forced to testify against themselves or make admissions of guilt.

In State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad, an eleven-judge Supreme Court panel stated: “It is widely recognized that clause (3) of Article 20 is designed against the accused person’s self-incrimination. Self-incrimination must involve the disclosure of information based on the speaker’s personal knowledge; it cannot simply be the mechanical process of producing documents in court that may shed light on any issue under contention but do not include any statements made by the accused based on his personal knowledge.

Thus, the right against self-incrimination permits the preservation of individual privacy in the administration of criminal justice. Additionally, it adheres to the proverb “Nemo Tenetur Seipsum Accusare,” which states that “No man, not even the accused himself, can be compelled to answer any question that may tend to prove him guilty of a crime he has been accused of.”[7]

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Indian Constitution both recognize the prohibition of being forced to testify against oneself, sometimes known as the Right to Silence. The legislature has protected a citizen’s right against self-incrimination in the CrPC. All questions posed to a person by a police officer must be answered truthfully, according to Section 161(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, with the exception of queries whose answers the subject already knows.


Though its exact origins are obscure, the right to silence has its roots in England’s medieval times. The practice of requiring suspects to take an oath known as the ex-officio oath and requiring the accused to respond to questions posed by the judge and the prosecutor without even a written charge was evolved in the English start chamber and High Commission courts during the 16th century. A person may be tortured if they refused to take the oath. Later on, these Star Chambers and Commissions were eliminated. The notion of “nemo debet prodere ipsum,”is the foundation of the right to silence.

In accordance with Article 20 (3), the accused has the right to silence on any issue that can implicate him and is protected against self-incrimination. This page includes both searches and seizures where an accused or the person being searched is not required to be a part of the search, as well as people who are compelled to be witnesses. A statement will not be protected by Article 20(3) if it is based on a finding. The legislation states that an accused person cannot be coerced into confessing or subjected to torture, and that no duress may be used to compel information from him. The privilege under Article 20(3) would be used in such circumstances. Scientific procedures that interfere with the Right to Privacy, such as polygraph examinations and drug testing, are deemed to be in violation of Article 20(3) and are only permitted under extremely unusual conditions. However, as medical knowledge has advanced, the validity of these tests has grown, and in my opinion, they can prove to be useful instruments for providing evidence for the prompt resolution of situations.


The right to self-incrimination is a crucial component of the legal system since it guards against unjust prosecution or punishment. It makes sure that the government is unable to use its authority to force people to give information or testimony that may be used against them in court. This is crucial in criminal situations when there are significant risks and potential negative outcomes.[8] It’s crucial to keep in mind that the right to self-defence, is not unqualified. In some situations, even when it would be harmful to them, people must produce proof or evidence. A defendant could be required to submit a DNA sample or fingerprint, for instance, even if they are used to link them to a crime.[9]

In the same way, witnesses are required to appear in court even if their evidence could result in their conviction. Overall, the criminal justice system is supported by the complicated legal principle of self-incrimination.

The term “law” is employed because it is a rule that individuals are free to follow or disregard. It protects the state’s right to employ coercion and guarantees that innocent individuals aren’t forced to provide information that may be used against them in a criminal prosecution.

The right to avoid self-harm is a crucial component of justice and the law, and many nations’ laws acknowledge it. It’s critical to take self-blame into account in this situation as a vital idea. According to the law, persons are required to defend themselves against being forced to testify against themselves. There are laws in both the US and India that protect people’s right to refrain from self-harm.


The ability to defend oneself is a crucial line of defense against state-sanctioned violence and injustice. By admitting evidence that is personally relevant to the court, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 creates several exceptions to this general norm. These exclusions are founded on the idea that evidence collected willingly and free from coercion or inappropriate influence is admissible in court. A significant exception to the privilege to immunity is found in Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act. This clause specifies that any information provided by the suspect to the police while they are holding him or her may be used against him or her as evidence if it shows that the crime has been specifically referenced.

Frequently referred to as the “discovery” rule, this exemption. The foundation of discovery laws is the idea that only evidence gained via the defendant’s voluntary disclosure, not through threats or coercion, is acceptable in court. The statute of limitations, which is unbounded, may only be used if the information given by the accused helps authorities identify the crime’s specifics. The information given by the accused must also be voluntarily and not the result of coercion or force.

Therefore, self-incrimination is a legal provision that has been approved in various judicial systems, such as India. But it’s crucial to understand that the right to self-harm must be evaluated against the right to an impartial investigation and to keep silent. The plan should guarantee the freedom of personal rights, treat the need for protection or counseling as a restriction, first defend the accused’s stringent rights, and make sure that any exceptions are firmly enforced in accordance with the law. Mandatory self-incrimination is a legal requirement that forces someone to produce information or witnesses that might implicate them in a crime. Because people have power over whether they disclose information or testimony that might be used against them, self-harm is a right. It


This study examines the legal protections for those who have been charged with a crime. This is necessary because an accused person is not considered guilty unless and until they are shown to be guilty by a court of law. Only those who have been charged of committing an offense are eligible. Additionally, this provision may only be triggered in criminal cases; it cannot be triggered in civil or administrative cases.

Moreover, even Criminal Procedure Code of Section- 161(2) defends the accused’s identical rights. No one can give up their right to silence. However, statements made freely by an accused person will be admissible in court. Second, suspects should also be aware of their legal options. The police must ensure that the accused is aware of his “right to remain silent” in order to protect him. This privilege is available to anybody who has been charged with a crime at any point in the legal process. A claim was made that scientific research violates article 20(3). However, everything is permitted to obtain the proof, which is a very crucial piece of information, until and until a “compulsion” is issued.

[1] Art. 20(3), the Constitution of India.

[2] Art.11, United Nations General Assembly. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights1948.

[3] https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-10842-compulsory-self-incrimination-as-a-privilege , last seen on 03/08/2023.

[4] https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/right-against-self-incrimination-and-constitutional-remedies , last seen on 04/08/2023.

[5] M. P. Sharma and Others vs Satish Chandra, on 15 March,1954 AIR 300, 1954 SCR 1077

[6] https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l466-Privilege-Against-Self—-Incrimination.html , last seen 05/08/2023

[7] https://legalprism.in/home/f/compulsory-self-incrimination-as-a-privilege , last seen on 04/08/2023.

[8] https://blog.ipleaders.in/right-against-self-incrimination/ , last seen on 05/08/2023.

[9] https://legalprism.in/home/f/compulsory-self-incrimination-as-a-privilege , last seen on 04/08/2023.


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