January 30, 2024
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The administration of justice involves more than just convicting the guilty and clearing the innocent; it also involves a fair and prompt trial. We are all aware of the urgent necessity for a speedy trial. One of the fundamental human rights is a speedy trial since justice cannot be claimed to have been served otherwise. Nearly all international charters and treaties have endorsed it.

There is currently no legislation that expressly specifies a deadline for the trial’s completion, and if one does exist, it is “directory” rather than “mandatory.” Through its many rulings, the Supreme Court has noted that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees a speedy trial.

right to speedy trial meaning

  • The idea of the “right to a speedy trial” focuses on resolving matters as quickly as possible to improve the effectiveness and credibility of the judiciary. The fundamental goal of the Right to a Speedy Trial is to instill justice in the community. Human life makes human rights important.
  • Both the Code of Civil Procedure and Articles 14, 19(1)(a), and 21 of the Indian Constitution imply this power.

right to speedy trial under article 21: History

  • A speedy trial guarantees the administration of justice by giving all of its residents a fair and just trial, protecting against injustices and excessive, oppressive detention.
  • Courts did not give a damn about how long an undertrial prisoner was imprisoned after gaining independence for 20 years; instead, they insisted that the prosecution had to provide evidence to support the undertrial’s continuing imprisonment.
  • However, the Supreme Court realized after the emergency that it was crucial to keep prisoners out of the dark and created a number of Fundamental Rights that were not mentioned in the Indian Constitution specifically. Included in this was the Constitution’s Article 21 Fundamental Right to a Speedy Trial.

right to speedy trial: Provisions under CrPC

  • Section 157(1) of the CrPC requires a police officer to report an offense to the magistrate as soon as they learn of it and then go inspect the scene.
  • Section 173(1) of the CrPC mandates that any inquiries conducted in accordance with Chapter XII of the CrPC be finished as soon as possible.
  • The accused is entitled to free copies of a number of papers, including the police report, the FIR, confessions, statements made pursuant to Section 161(3), and other documents provided to the magistrate pursuant to Section 173(5). This privilege is granted by Section 207 of the CrPC.
  • Section 260 to Section 265 of the CrPC’s Chapter XXI allows for summary trials for some minor offenses, facilitating a quicker conclusion.
  • Section 468 of the CrPC establishes a statute of limitations for determining the seriousness of an offense, with varying deadlines according to the recommended sentence.

Certain Amendments for Speedy Trial:

  • Section 167(2)(a) of the CrPC addresses default bail, judicial detention, and police custody. It provides for the accused’s release on bond if the investigation is not finished within predetermined timelines and caps the length of time the police can hold them initially at 15 days.
  • Section 173(1A) of the CrPC expressly requires that rape investigations be finished within two months.
  • Section 309(1) of the CrPC was added to avoid trial delays and mandates that daily proceedings continue until all witnesses have been questioned. If a charge sheet is filed for a specific offense including sexual assault, the investigation or trial should preferably be finished in two months.

right to speedy trial case laws

  • The fundamental rights of undertrial prisoners under Article 21 of the Constitution are violated if they are imprisoned for longer than necessary and are ultimately found guilty, as per the ruling in the case Hussainara Khatoon v State of Bihar, which gave rise to the concept of the Speedy Trial.
  • Subsequently, it was decided in the Katar Singh v State of Punjab case that the fundamental right to life and liberty includes the right to a prompt trial as a necessary component.
  • In the case of Abdul Rahman Antulay v R.S. Nayak, the bench ruled that the specifics of a prompt trial and the dismissal of cases should be determined by the type of case.

Every stage of the process, investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision, and re-trial, is entitled to a prompt trial. In a number of rulings, the Supreme Court emphasized that anyone wishing to enforce their right to a prompt trial may do so by bringing a case before the Supreme Court under the virtue of Article 32 and the High Court under the virtue of Article 226.

Finally, despite the fact that numerous provisions have been made to guarantee prompt justice, Indians are still not receiving prompt justice in the actual sense. There are several reasons why the trial has been prolonged. Despite being a fundamental right, the right to a swift trial still needs empirical research and detailed legislation to be meaningfully applied.

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