Critical Analysis on Right to a fair trial under Indian Laws
The basic goal of criminal process is to ensure that everyone accused of a crime receives a fair trial. The concept of a fair trial is inextricably linked to the fundamental and internationally recognised human right1. It should be highlighted, however, that the fairness of a criminal trial should not be judged on an absolute basis.
The severity of the charge, the time and money that society can afford to invest, the quality of the available resources, the prevailing societal values, and other factors will all have to be considered when determining whether or not a criminal trial is fair. It is hoped that this document will provide an overview of the common characteristics of a fair criminal trial.
The following are the characteristics of a fair trial:
System of adversaries
Judge who is independent, unbiased, and competent
The location of the trial
The presumption of innocent is a legal concept that refers to the assumption that
Accused person's rights
Trail that moves quickly
Every single person whether innocent or accused has the right to legal aid. This right is also a constitutional right embodied in Article 22(1) of the Indian Constitution. The right to counsel is one of the fundamental rights according to the supreme law in India. In the case of Khatri v. State of Bihar, it was held that the accused is entitled to free legal counsel not only at the stage of trial but also when he is first produced before the Magistrate and also when remanded. Article 39A has also been introduced by the 42nd Amendment in 1976 in Indian Constitution to provide free legal aid to the persons who cannot afford a lawyer for his defence. Sections 303 and 304 of Cr.PC also provide for the right to legal aid through a counsel to every accused.
The main purpose of India's criminal justice system is to ensure fair and impartial trials against all defendants imprisoned in the Indian Territory. Our country follows a system of opposition to conduct the defendant's trial. Under this system, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilty beyond reasonable suspicion. India's criminal justice system follows several principles to ensure impartial justice, but India lags behind indicators of the rule of law. According to the World Justice Project (WJP), India is ranked 68th out of 128 countries in the 2019 Rule of Law Index.
The Criminal Justice of India is embodied with all the necessary provisions required for a fair trial of an accused but still, the country lags behind in the Rule of Law Index. The major reason behind this is that the delay and other irregularities in the implementation of the abovementioned principles of a fair trial. For instance, an expeditious trial is one of the major principles of a fair trial, but have you witnessed any criminal case which has been disposed off by the courts within a span of 2 years? The answer to this question will be no. Similarly many other irregularities such as delayed investigations, expensive and complicated legal process, judicial corruption etc. Caused a decline in India's rank in the 2019 Rule of Law Index.
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