Gnosis – The Literary Club at Asian Law College (ALC) organized a guest lecture of Prof Dr Qaisar Hayat on doctrine of legality in criminal law on 25th September 2018. Prof Dr Qaisar Hayat, Former Dean & Chairman of Aligarh Muslim University, Former Professor at International Islamic Center (Malaysia) and a world renowned legal personality.
The lecture incorporated the basic tenets of Constitutional law in the beginning like Article 21, concept of liberty and its judicial interpretations. The speaker gave the example of recent incidence of Maharashtra wherein the human right activist was placed under house arrest by the police and how Supreme court being the guardian of our fundamental rights came to the rescue of the human rights activist by taking cognizance of this incidence suo motu. The speaker defined crime as conduct, behavior and omission of a human being under a legal obligation to do or not to do. The liberty which is protected by law is not absolute and law comes into play as curtailing liberty whenever it is required. The speaker differentiated with illustration the concept of morality and law. illustration was with regard to a person going on morning walk daily and one day the person spots a child thrown in the dustbin who was shivering with cold and by the time the person returns from morning walk the child is dead. The person cannot be prosecuted for this because this pertain to moral duty and not the legal duty of that person. The law provides discretion to judges in terms of deciding the quantum of punishment which is supposed to be according to the rule of natural Justice. The speaker also gave illustrations explaining how an omission also becomes a crime wherein the illustration of a jailor who is responsible to provide clothes to the prisoner omits to do so and as a result one of the prisoner dies. This omission constitutes a crime. The dynamic nature of law was also brought forth by citing examples of Sati and Child marriages which were recognized prior as part of custom and later on defined as crime. The speaker addressed the following principles of criminal law:
1) Non retroactivity of penal law
2) Penal statue has to be strictly constituted
3) Certainty of penal law and no ambiguity should be there
4)The law should be be accessible.
The session dealt with the celebrated case laws of Rao Shiv Bhadur v State (1953) and Ratan Lal v State of Punjab (1965) at the conclusion to explain the above mentioned principles of criminal law. The speaker also entertained the question session wherein he answered the questions of the students of Asian Law College (ALC) which were on how to become a good criminal lawyer, Credibility of witnesses and the importance of interpretations in the criminal law.