RIGHT TO SPEEDY CRIMINAL TRIAL

In the case of Kartar Singh vs. State of Punjab (1994) 3 SCC 569  M.M Punchi J. has observed that, Right to speedy trial is one of the fundamental rights enshrined from Article 21 of Constitution of India, which is right to life and liberty . When restriction imposed on a person by way arrest, the right to speedy trial of that arrested person begins. This right continues with the arrested person in all stage of before as well as during criminal trial until finality of guilt.  This begins with arrest than investigation, enquiry, trial, appeal, revision so that any kind of delay after commission of offence until finality of guilt can be avoided.  The concept of Right to Speedy trial is based on the principle of ‘JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED”.  Ultimate objective of this is justice to the people involved in the matter. Unreasonable  delay in winding up a trial will not only cause injustice to the  accused but every single individual related in a particular case.  This is right of accused person and if delay is caused in trial it is infringement of fundamental right of that accused person.  The guilt or innocence of an accused needs to be determined in speedy manner in public interest and it serves social interest too.  However, the irony is almost eighty percent of the persons are inside the prison and are under trial waiting for the trial to begin and end in our Country. It is also the fact that no time limit can be fixed or adviced for trial of offences.    Lack of awareness among the accused persons about their right to speedy trail can also be one of the reasons of such delay in finality of guilt or innocence.  Sometimes it is being observed that though right to speedy trail is right of an accused person they themselves causes delay in proceedings and it is being used as defence tactics so that they will be able to get more time to prepare their case. And as it is known to us that in maximum cases burden of proof lies on prosecution the unreasonable delay prejudices the prosecution.  However, that might not be the reality in all the cases of delay. Therefore, what need to be done, is the cases of infringement of right to speedy trial should scrutinize carefully to know about the party responsible for such infringement.   Ultimately the responsibility lies on Court to balance and weight the relevant factors to determine whether the right to speedy trail is denied and who is responsible for it.

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