SC: Right to Speedy Trial Is a Fundamental Right

Here is a Supreme Court Judgment on a Right To A Speedy Trial

Right to Speedy Trial

“The accused in these cases might have been on bail – but the injustice of pendency of trial for long periods is the uncertainty and the concomitant anxiety suffered by the under-trial. The under-trial is inhibited in making future plans for his life or executing present ones due to the uncertainty which pendency of trial brings. His confidence starts to erode and at the end of the trial, even if he is honourably acquitted, the scars of the long trial remain. He feels condemned despite the acquittal.”

A person could be innocent, yet he may suffer confinement or anxiety or both because judicial system fails to reach a verdict for many years. The delay could be due to tardy investigation by the police. Then courts have built up huge arrears of undecided cases – which coupled with the fact that the number of courts is also quite less – ensures that every case has to wait for years for decision. Rules of procedure under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act do not help the situation either. Most of these rules, framed by the British for a colonial administration have been retained in their letter as well as spirit, regardless of the altered circumstances.

Article 21 of the Constitution assures that one is not to be deprived of his life or personal liberty without following the due procedure, established by law. Now the point is – if the established procedure or its infrastructural framework itself results in the delay, how and what does the accused do?. One method could be to interpret Article 21 to include right to speedy trial which our Supreme Court has done many times.

The right to a speedy trial includes those with lengthy police investigations:

Here are some relevant judgments:

Also check out this blog: 498A Book Of Knowledge



7 Responses to “SC: Right to Speedy Trial Is a Fundamental Right”

  1. 1 Avinash April 26, 2008 at 4:31 am

    This is the correct way of implementing law. The person who approaches the Courts should be given justice and not his or her sons/daughters or grand sons/daughters. Unfortunately, the practical position is that in most of the Civil matters, the cases takes from 10 years to unlimited period. Ram Janam bhoomi case is an eye opener.


    • 2 antriksh saxena (advocate) August 28, 2011 at 3:08 am

      mr. avinash tendering justice is not a child’s play. your language is showing that you are not much more aware with procedural law. a number of learned jurists have set this procedure. procedure is the best and correct. nobody is having any maigical stick to know who is guilty and wrong. such kind of haste may cause higher chances of injustice. first u have to study the technicalities than say like this.


      • 3 LAFTAIN SINGH BUTT June 28, 2012 at 5:53 am

        Mr.antriksh, being an advocate & hon’ble officer of the court, you should not react to Mr.avinash’s comments so sharply. May be you are honest enough but you can’t deny that there are advocates who are interested in money-making only and not in speedy justice. Such dis-honest advocates are bringing bad name to whole of the advocates’ community. Hope you agree. Regards. A Self-made Advocate

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 4 Avinash April 26, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Justice should be dispensed the same day or at the most in a month or two. At least the cases should be registered after checking of the merits of the case and documents filed. Parties who file frivolous cases should be punished suitably.


  3. 5 shalaka January 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

    speedy trial should be in time and it is a fundamental right. purpose of speedy trial is to safeguard to innocent from undue punishment


  4. 6 leum January 28, 2015 at 9:14 am


    For example: Ms. Rekha, Principal Judge, Family Courts, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi has been under medical tretment for last several months. During her medical leave, about 2-3 months or more the court proceeding was stopped except giving only next date of hearing by the court-staff. Now Ld. Judge is holding the Court but no evidence has been conducted saying that her court room is small which cannot accommodate the Steno for recording evidence. Fact is this her court room is far bigger then a Lawyers Chamber where typest, clients, staffs and juniors, litigants everybody can be adjusted. Litigants from USA also comes to attend the Family Court. Lots of lady litigants are waiting re-marriage or waiting for higher education in abroad or so but to accommodate a STENO in the court room is a bigger problem for the Ld. Judge. I don’t believe there is no solution for the same.
    In fact Ms. Rekha, Ld. Judge fixed average 1 or 2 cases for evidence and 12 to 20 cases (approx.) in a day including Applications viz. Sobha Rani U/s 13(1) HMA, Sobha Rani U/s 24 HMA, Sobha Rani Execution, are considered as three cases in the cause list. Ld judge hard arguments before noon, when evidence suffers and after noon what she does?????
    In such condition how one can expect speedy Justice?
    II. In every District Courts (Dwarka, Karkardooma and Saket ) the civil Judges are having 10-15 cases per day i.e. less then 500 cases per court. Most of the court are found vaccant after 12pm. Therefore Judges are interested to adjourn the proceeding between 10.00 am to 10.30 am when the list has been re-called twice or thrice in between. If any party could not appear due to traffic jam or due to held up in another court, the case has been adjourned.
    If there are more then one application, only one application is being heard or kept part heard.
    There are lot of things practically using by the Judges to mentain the cause list with at least 10-12 cases per day.
    The problem of advocates is this, the advocates have no answer to satisfy their clients. If case is adjourned due to non-appearance, client never consider that it was adjourned within 10.30 am etc.
    I am an Officer of the court, wihout making any complaint, just requesting you to consider this letter to improve our judicial system please.
    Thanking you,
    Yours Truly, Advocate/New Delhi – 110017.


  5. 7 ashok September 6, 2017 at 5:01 am

    It is true that SC had been guidelines to various High Courts in the country in respect of protection of fundamental rights of litigants, for speedy trial, bail conditions, facilities to undertrials kept in jail due to financial problems of not getting a surety etc. but still, in reality, lower courts, particularly in UP are not at all adhering to these guidelines or directions. I can quote a crl. Case of 1995 in Disst. Court of Gautam Budh Nagar, wherein the accused is appearing regularly, no stay of proceedings, no revision/appeal being ever pending, directions of the High Court two time, first in 2006 and second in 2007, to dispose off the case within 3 months. Evidence is concluded, statement of accused u/s 313 already recorded since 2008. Arguments heard, written arguments given by accused in 2008. Still the case is pending without any reason, without any pendency of application either from accused or prosecution, and after every 15-20 days since 2008,a stereotype order is written in the file “for arguments”. Where are the protections of Arrticle 21 or other rights of litigant. How far one can go in High court and spend money. Can anyone advice me how to write or approach via email to concerned High Court and Supreme Court, directly to chief justice of India or some NGOs who can help me or media. This is purely a state case and I am the only one accused. I seek advice in the matter. Regards.


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In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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