Pooja Garg


This note discusses the recommendations of the Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System (Malimath Committee, 2003) in respect of burden of proof and standard of proof in criminal law. The note first examines the concepts of burden of proof and standard of proof and the various meanings attached to them. It then argues that the Malimath Committee has misread these various meanings. The second part of this note examines in detail the various standards of proof applicable in criminal law. The note suggests that the presumption of innocence and proof beyond reasonable doubt are not only entrenched in the criminal justice system of India but are also a part of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This note, concludes by suggesting that if the recommendations of the Malimath Committee were to be adopted in respect of burden and standard of proof in criminal law, it is likely that it would not only be struck down as unconstitutional but would also be in violation of India's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.