A HUMAN RIGHT AND
A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
Speedy Trial as a Human Right
The right to a Speedy Trial is first mentioned in that landmark document of English law, the Magna Carta. With evolution of concept of Human Rights in 20th century, Right to Personal Liberty emerged as one of the basic Natural Right of every human being. Deprivation of personal liberty is caused when any person is under detention for any alleged crime. This makes it necessary to establish a balance between need of Criminal Justice System and protection of basic Human Rights of an accused person. Over a period of time lot of water has passed under the bridge. And it has come out that Right to Speedy Trial is most important Human Right of an accused person and is implicit in Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Major International documents takes cognizance of this and provides directly or indirectly Right to Speedy Trial as Human Right. These are: A) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 9(3)- Anyone arrested or detained on criminal charge shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time….. Article 9(4)- Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a Court, in order that Court may decide without delay…..
B) African Charter on Human Rights
Article 7(1)- Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard. This comprises:…(d) the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial Court or Tribunal. C) American Convention on Human Rights
Article 7(3)- Any person detained shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time….. Article 7(4)- Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to recourse to a competent Court in order that Court may decide without delay…..
D) European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, 1950 Article 5(3)- Everyone arrested or detained shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time….. Article 5(4)- Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a Court…..
This kind of recognition as Human Right given to Right to Speedy Justice has made many States to provide it expressly as Fundamental Right and even if not provided so expressly, then to ensure its enforcement as integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty.
Speedy Trial as a Fundamental Right
Speedy Trial is a Fundamental Right implicit in the guarantee of life and personal liberty enshrined in Art. 21 of the Constitution of India and any accused who is denied this right of Speedy Trial is entitled to approach Supreme Court under Art. 32 for the purpose of enforcing such right. The right to Speedy Trial is not a fact or fiction but a “Constitutional reality” and it has to be given its due respect. A delay in justice is not only unfairness but social injustice. The mental pressure imposed on the accused due to delayed justice is wholesome inhuman act. Courts may provide justice after taking long time but no court can ever provide the compensation of mental persecution, social isolation and self respect and self-esteem In Maneka Gandhi versus Union of India and Another , a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court went into the meaning of expression “procedure established by law” in Article 21. The court held that the procedure established by law does not mean any procedure but a procedure that is reasonable, just and fair. The court read Articles 19 & 14 into Article 21 of the constitution for this purpose: The law must therefore now be taken to be well-settled that Article 21 does not exclude Article 19 and that even if there is a law prescribing a procedure for depriving a person of ‘personal liberty’ and there is consequently no infringement of the Fundamental Right conferred by Article 21, such law, insofar...