(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.


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


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

Debate Summary

Article 20 of the Constitution of India was debated on 2nd, 3rd and 6th of December 1948. The debates on the article seem to emerge around its wording and the potential for confusion and inconsistency in interpretation due to the same. It was argued that the term ‘law in force’ should replace ‘the law’ in the phrase ‘under the law at the time of commission’. The rationale behind this was that another article of the Constitution defined ‘law’ and ‘law in force’ differently. Hence the Assembly made the necessary change to the article. Also, the assembly felt that the term ‘ prosecuted’ needed to be added to the article in addition to ‘punished’ as the term ‘punished’ did not seem sufficiently clear to the Assembly.