“A Delay in Trial is a Denial of Justice.” The Chhattisgarh High Court has awarded a man incarcerated more than his sentence Rs. 1.87 Lakh as compensation

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Jun 2021 4:15pm

“A Delay in Trial is a Denial of Justice.” The Chhattisgarh High Court has awarded a man incarcerated more than his sentence Rs. 1.87 Lakh as compensation

The Chhattisgarh High Court has stated that, “denial of the right to a speedy trial is a miscarriage of justice.” And also ordered the State Law Ministry and the Director-General of Police to compensate the accused. “The petitioner already spent 4years, 6months, and 7days in jail as an undertrial, where he was awarded 3years imprisonment for offenses undersection 420/34, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code,” the single bench Justice Sanjay k. Agrawal observed.

The accused has already served more than one year and six months in jail which was, more than the sentence awarded by the trial Magistrate. The Single Judge allowed the petitioner for compensation of the amount of Rs. 1.87L with 6% interest. “Right to the speedy trial is not guaranteed as a constitutional right in India, but right to the fair trial which has been held to be a part of the right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of Constitution. The right to a speedy trial in a criminal case is a significant and vital right for the accused, and its breach would result in a denial of justice and a severe miscarriage of justice, according to the High Court.”

The court referred to Supreme Court’s decision in the case Rudul Shah v. The State of Bihar, 1983 AIR 1086, 1983 SCR (3) 508, in which a writ petition was filed for compensation for 14 years of illegal detention, and it was held that payment of compensation is the only effective remedy available to the judiciary to prevent violations of the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court also placed reliance on the case Pankaj Kumar v. The State of Maharashtra, (2008) 16 SCC 117,wherein it was held that if the Court finds that an accused's right to a speedy trial has been violated, the charges or conviction may be quashed unless the court believes that, given the nature of the offense and other relevant circumstances, quashing the proceedings is not in the best interests of justice. In such a case, the court has the authority to issue an appropriate order.

The petitioner had remained in jail from 14th May 2012 till the day of delivery of judgment which is 08th November 2016, for 4years, 6months, and 7days, and where the sentence has been awarded for 3years. The petitioner has made several applications for grant of bail but all the applications were rejected and he also claimed compensation of Rs. 30 Lacs for illegal detention for 1year, 6months, and 8days. The State argued that the Petitioner was convicted for a serious offense of cheating. It was further argued that the Petitioner's imprisonment was judicial custody conducted in compliance with law and process, and hence could not be described as illegal incarceration.

The High Court stated that “the right guaranteed under Article 21 of Indian Constitution was denied by illegal detention by the state and its officers, the petitioner is eligible for compensation, though the loss to personal liberty can’t be compensated by money.” It was also held that the right to life is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and it has been violated, the petitioner is entitled to monetary compensation from the respondents, who are responsible for the breach.

Tagged: Chhattisgarh High Court   Law Ministry   Indain Panel code   Justice Sanjay k. Agrawal   constitutional right   indian constitutional   Article 21  
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