Fair trial has been regarded as an essential component of justice everywhere. Audi alteram partem, which means “listen to the both sides,” has been considered a fundamental rule of natural justice. With the same objective, Indian Constitution under Article 20(2), in the part of Fundamental Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) lay down the provision of fair trial. This convention contains provisions on due process which are an integral part in the safeguarding of fair trial.
Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 also explicitly lays down the provision pertaining to this rule. Autrefois acquit and autrefois convict is a bar to criminal trial on the ground that the accused person once been charged and tried for the same alleged offence and while such acquittal or conviction is in force cannot be again tried for the same offence. There are various facets of this principle, which have been developed by the judicial interpretation.
The author in this article has dealt with the ambit and scope of this principle with respect to the provisions of section 300 of Cr. PC.