SPEEDY TRIAL: NEED OF THE HOUR

media trials

INTRODUCTION

The next time you witness a fight I believe there can be at least one person challenging the other – ‘I’ll see you in the court’. “The amount of trust common man hold towards judiciary” is ineffable, yet a large number of them leave the court complex with a disappointed face. There is no doubt about the competency of Indian courts but the whole procedure along with pendency creates it difficult to wrap some serious cases that need immediate and prompt attention. “Pending cases in India cross 4.4 crores.”[1] Files keep getting piled on and on with no solution to solve them. Then comes the term speedy trial to dispose of the cases including heinous and rare cases. The right to a speedy trial is first mentioned in that landmark document of English law, the Magna Carta.[2]

Article 21 proclaims that “no individual will be denied of his life or individual freedom besides as per the system laid by law.” Justice Krishna Iyer while managing the bail request in Babu Singh v. Province of UP,[3] commented, “Our equity framework even in grave cases, experiences slow movement condition which is deadly to ‘reasonable preliminary’ whatever a definitive choice. Rapid equity is a part of civil rights since the local area, overall, is worried in the criminal being condignly lastly rebuffed inside a sensible time and the honest being exonerated from the extreme difficulty of criminal procedures.” Right to expedient preliminary is an idea acquiring acknowledgement and significance step by step.

Justice delayed is denied” is a legal maxim stating that if a lawful change is available for a party who has suffered some harm but isn’t forthcoming on time, it is effective as old as no evaluation by any realm of imagination. This criterion is the basis for the right to prompt preliminary and comparable rights, which are meant to aid the general set of laws because it is unreasonable for the aggrieved party to be required to demonstrate the injury with little expectation of success.

SPEEDY TRIAL AND ITS NEED

The legal executive is critical to our popular government, and all of its recommendations should be assimilated into the judicial framework. When we accept the notion that in a vote-based society, the legal framework plays an important role in ensuring that neither liberalism nor authoritarianism prevails, the court’s challenging tasks stare us down. According to Chief Justice Burger, “a sense of trust in the courts is critical to keeping up the texture of requested freedom for a free community, and three things could obliterate that assurance and hurt society: that individuals come to accept that failure and defer will deplete even an only judgment of its worth; that individuals who have for some time been taken advantage of in the more modest exchanges of day to day existence come to accept that courts can’t justify their lawful privileges from extortion and over-coming to; that individuals come to trust the law – in the bigger sense – can’t satisfy its essential capacity to secure them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public roads.”[4]

A “legal framework” one which appears to think frequently only about confirmations and realities should not stress over subduing the spirits of the offended party and the respondent with time, but rather give equity as soon as possible; this deferral/disavowal of equity cues expanding “Out of Court settlements” which are less expensive and faster, resulting in loss of trust in our Judicial System. And another face of the coin is that people whose cases are under trial and are later acquitted are being tortured in a sense that they are unnecessarily being punished for an act not committed by them. Furthermore, the pace of the trial is such that the number of years spend in jail exceeds the crime they were accused of. The right to a speedy preliminary hearing is not a reality or fiction, but rather a “Protected reality,” but it must be respected. The courts and the legislature have already identified it as one method of reducing the courts’ increasing obligations. However, there are no specific mechanisms for speedy preliminary proceedings; however, the Supreme Court has concluded that article 21 of the constitution grants the right on the denounced. It is because of a reasonable concern for all those involved that the lawsuit is settled quickly and equity appears to occur. In Abdul Rehman v. R.S Nayak,[5] the Apex Court that, in the end, it is up to the court to decide whether or not the right to a speedy preliminary hearing has been denied. When procedures cannot be restrained because it is not in the best interests of the general public.

Legislative Framework

There are various provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (hereafter Cr. P.C) that preserve and assure rapid trial, in addition to Articles 21 and 39A of the Directive Principles of State Policy. Indeed, there are several rules in the criminal procedure legislation that enables a rapid trial from arrest to final judgment. There are no particular requirements about the speedy trial because a speedy trial would only be achievable when all authorities, such as police and prosecutors, work in a balanced manner with defined rules and procedures that include the component of fairness in every trial process. Some of the provisions that ensure a swift trial are as follows:

Section 57 of CrPC: A person apprehended cannot be kept for longer than 24 hours, according to Section 57 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Only when a person is arrested without a warrant and in the absence of a special order of a magistrate under section 167, may he or she be held for more than 24 hours, exclusive of the time required to travel from the place of arrest to the magistrate’s court.

Section 167 (2) of CrPC: Section 167 of the criminal procedure code explains what to do if an investigation cannot be finished within 24 hours. This clause allows the magistrate to authorize the detention of an accused in any custody that he deems appropriate for a total of no more than 15 days.

Section 167 (2A) of CrPC: Under this section, a magistrate may authorize the detention of an accused person for more than 15 days if he is satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so; however, no magistrate shall authorize the detention of an accused person in custody for a total period exceeding 90 days where the investigation is relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years, and 60 days where the investigation is relating to an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

Section 173(1) of CrPC: This clause states that all investigations conducted under Chapter XII must be finished as soon as possible. This section states that in every investigation or trial, the proceeding shall be held as early as possible, and once the examination of witnesses begins, it shall be continued from day to day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined unless the court of law believes it is necessary to adjourn the same beyond the following day for reasons to be recorded.

Section 173(1A) of CrPC: This clause states that an investigation into child rape must be concluded within three months of the day the officer in charge of the police station records information about the case.

Section 309(1) of CrPC: This section states in every inquiry or trial, the hearing shall be held as soon as possible, and once the examination of witnesses begins, it shall continue from day to day until all of the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the court of law believes it is necessary to adjourn the same beyond the following day for reasons to be recorded.

These are a few notable provisions that ensure a swift trial.

CONCLUSION

A speedy trial is required at this time. The goal of a time trial is to protect the innocent and punish the guilty in a fair amount of time while maintaining the component of justice. There is an old age saying states that justice hurried is justice buried. Though delay indeed thwarts justice, it is also true that a speedy trial cannot be guaranteed to be reasonable, fair, and just. It will only serve its true purpose when there is a proper balance of speed and justice. And it is the responsibility of the judiciary to make sure that the balance is maintained. The speedy trials should never be an option rather than it should be the first resort in the justice delivery process. Every single day that a case is delayed the victim and the family goes through a tormenting state of mind and distress that can never be compensated for. India’s judicial system makes sure to make sure that no innocent is to be punished in the process but this process at times is so lengthy that it turns out to be a punishment rather additional offence against the accused.

Author(s) Name: Sameena Sayyed (Nirma University, Ahmedabad)

References:

[1]  Pradeep Thakur, Pending cases in India cross 4.4 crores, up 19% since last year, TOI, Apr 15, 2021, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pending-cases-in-india-cross-4-4-crore-up-19-since-last-year/articleshow/82088407.cms

[2] Virginia Law Review, May 1915, Vol. 2, No. 8 (May 1915), pp. 566.

[3] Babu Singh v. Province of UP, 1978 AIR 527.

[4] Dr.Gene Nelson at http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/01/kevin-rings-lawyers-ask-to-delay-retrial-.html?cid=6a00d8

[5] Abdul Rehman v. R.S Nayak, 1992 AIR 1701.