Article 20 of the Constitution

This Article 20 Protects individuals from arbitrary conviction for offences. It provides mandates that no person shall be prosecuted and convicted based on retrospective laws. And no person shall be forced to give evidence against himself.

Punishment based on prospective laws

Article 20 (1) No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

No double jeopardy

Article 20 (2) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.

So this article saves a person from double prosecution that is double jeopardy.

No self incrimination

Article 20 (3) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Thus, Article 20 of the Indian Constitution safeguards individual rights in criminal proceedings. It provides protection against arbitrary conviction, self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and retrospective punishment.

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Article 20(1) prohibits retrospective punishment. According to this provision no person shall be punished for an act that was not an offense at the time it was committed. But several judgments declare that Article 20 prohibits only conviction and punishment under an ex post facto law, not the trial or prosecution itself.  

Article 20(2) prohibits a person from being prosecuted and punished for the same offense twice. This principle of double jeopardy prevents individuals from being subjected to multiple trials or punishments for the same offense. However, Departmental Proceedings are independent of trial by a judicial court or tribunal.

Article 20(3) says that no person accused of an offense shall be forced to be a witness against themselves. It is a fundamental right that protects individuals from being compelled to be witnesses in their own criminal prosecution.

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