This article is written by Avani Bhatia, 2nd year student of BB.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) school of Law, Lovely Professional University. The article discusses the concept of Speedy Justice, why this right is important and the reasons of slow process of delivering justice along with the case laws and the provisions.
What is Speedy Justice?
Criminal justice is fundamentally about the right to a speedy trial, and there can be no debate that justice delayed is justice denied. Although the right to a quick trial is not expressly listed as a basic right in the Indian Constitution, it is implied by the scope of Article 21. Every person has a fundamental right under Article 21 to not have their life or freedom taken away from them unless doing so follows the legal process. Additionally, the process must be rational, equitable, and just. The process cannot be fair unless this guarantees a swift trial to determine the accused’s guilt. People desire justice, pure, unpolluted, rapid, and inexpensive, and they have every right to obtain it, but in reality, there are deplorably long delays in the dispensation of justice, and the demand for speedy justice cannot be reached because, as stated, if justice is not administered quickly, men persuade themselves that there is no such thing as justice. While a case is filed against someone, the alleged offender is taken into custody by the court, and due to the facts of the case, when the case goes to trial, the alleged offender continues to live as a prisoner.
Living the life of a prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit while innocent in jail. Sometimes a lawsuit drags on for so long that one of the parties passes away throughout the course of the legal proceedings without ever receiving justice. Constantly participating in the court process costs
money, time, and energy. Prison violence is a real issue these prisoners deal with. The inmates, including the innocent ones, begin to experience bodily and emotional torment, and frequently pass away in their cells. The right to a speedy trial is one of the oldest established rights in American law, as well as one of the most contentious. The right to speedy justice is a watershed decision that establishes the right to a speedy trial as a fundamental human right. This means that anyone accused of a crime has the right to a fair, efficient, and timely trial. This decision is significant because it establishes a precedent for other countries to follow in ensuring that all accused people have the right to a speedy trial.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that no one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the legal procedure. Article 21 provides protection from both executive and legislative actions. The Court decided in Munn v. Illinois that the term “life” meant more than just animal existence. “The idiomatic phrase ‘personal liberty’ in Article 21 is of the broadest magnitude and it covers a variety of rights which go to constitute the personal liberty of man, some of which have brought up to the prestige of distinct fundamental rights and given additional protection under Article 19,” Justice Bhagwati stated in the Maneka Gandhi Case.
If interpreted correctly, the phrase “Life and Liberty” includes a person’s right to a speedy trial. Everyone has a right to a life that is unrestricted and healthy. In the victim’s case, seeking justice ultimately requires years of court appearances. The accused in this situation spends years in jail while awaiting trial. Everyone is aware that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. parties to a proceeding
in both cases. Their right to life and to personal liberty is violated by the delay in the legal process, which also causes mental suffering. Their stress, worry, cost, and inconvenience as a result of unwarranted delay should be kept to a minimum.
In Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, 1979, a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed on behalf of numerous men and women, including children, who had been imprisoned for years without charge and whose crimes, even if proven, would not have resulted in a sentence of more than a few months. The “Right to a Speedy Trial” is a fundamental right that is implicit in the rights to life and personal freedom guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, according to the Apex Court’s ruling in this case. In its ruling, the court imposed stricter bail requirements, more humane living conditions, and a significantly shorter window between arrest and trial. In the criminal justice system, a speedy trial is primarily intended to protect the accused from needless prison sentences before his conviction and to ensure justice for the victim. Therefore, the need for a speedy trial arose as a result of needless delays in the resolution of cases. Champalal Punjaji v. State of Maharashtra (1981) made the following observation: “In determining whether the right to a speedy trial has been denied, the Court is entitled to consider whether the delay was unintended, caused by overcrowding of the court’s proceedings or understaffing of the prosecutors, and if the accused contributed a fairly substantial amount to the time taken.”
Factors Which Cause Delay
There are numerous factors that could be to blame for the trial’s delay. The most well-liked of them are:
Regarding aspects of the judicial system like the backlog of cases, the court’s recess, the ratio of judges, and the autonomy of the judiciary.
Counsel’s actions include taking adjournments, making long and complex assertions to convince clients, and not properly preparing the case.
On the portion of the accused, such as running away or acting uncooperatively, etc.
1986’s Sheela Barsa v. Union of India- In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that unless there is an interim order issued by the superior Court or a deliberate delay on the part of the accused, it is obvious that an accused’s fundamental Right to Speedy Trial would be violated if he is not tried quickly and his case is left unsettled before the Magistrate or the Sessions Court for an excessive amount of time. Such a lag would have the potential to have the prosecution invalidated as a result.
We can draw the conclusion that while speedy trials were initially not a priority, they became so after the emergency period as a way for the courts to protect the parties to criminal proceedings from needless harassment. According to the Apex Courts’ judicial pronouncements, a speedy trial is an inherent right under the constitution’s Article 21. As a result, no one may be deprived of their life or freedom without following the proper legal procedures, which must be “fair,” “reasonable,” and “just.” At every stage, including the investigative process, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision, and retrial, a person has the right to a prompt trial. In a number of its rulings, the Supreme Court highlighted that anyone wishing to enforce their right to a speedy trial may do so by applying to the Hon’ble Supreme court under Article 32 and
the High Court under Article 226. However, the Court has on several occasions declined to set a deadline for when a trial must be over. Finally, despite the fact that numerous provisions have been made to guarantee swift justice, the Indian people still do not receive instant justice in the real sense.