Decided on March 05,1985



B.L.Hansaria, J. - (1.)The right to trial within a reasonable time travels back in the modern world community to the date of Magna Carta when in 1225 the great Charter given by King Henry III stated in one of its clauses (40) that to no one will we sell, deny or delay right or justice.T (Emphasis ours) Speedy trial is one of the constitutionally guaranteed rights in the United States also. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of that country has provided that In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a. speedy and public trial. Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights too has provided that T1everyone arrested or detained shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.T
(2.)Though in our Constitution there is no specific provision guaranteeing speedy trial, the same has been culled out from Article 21, which is blossoming every day different hue and colour and is spreading its sweet essence in different directions. The Apex Court of the land, in first of the Hussainara case,1 stated, speaking through Honble Bhagwati J., that there can be no doubt that a speedy trial (there by meaning reasonably expeditious trial) is an integral and essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty enshrined in Article 21. This view was taken following the broad sweep and content of Article 21 as interpreted in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India,2 where it was held that to satisfy the mandate of this Article any semblance of procedure prescribed by law would not do; that procedure has to be reasonable, fair and just. It was then observed that a procedure prescribed by law for depriving a person of his liberty cannot be reasonable, fair and just, unless that procedure ensures speedy trial for determination of the guilt of such person. Any procedure not ensuring a quick trial was held to fall foul of Article 21.
(3.)Relying on Hussainara, in Kadra v. State of Bihar3 the Sessions Judge, Dumka was directed to take up the cases of the concerned accused immediately and to proceed with the case from day to day without any interruption, having found that the fundamental right of speedy trial had remained a paper promise, The Government was also directed to file a list of under trial prisoners who have been in jail for a period of more than 18 months without their trial having commenced. Of course, delayed trial may nor be unfair trial in every case as stated in State of Maharastra v. Chaampalal,4 A conviction on this ground can be quashed if it is shown that the accused has been prejudiced in his trial because of delay.

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