Fast track cases should not result in burial of justice- Anokhilal v State of Madhya Pradesh case analysis - Synopsis
Lakshay Parmar 8 Jan 2020

Anokhilal v State of Madhya Pradesh Criminal Appeal Nos.62-63 of 2014 – Case analysis

 

Core issue- Fast track cases should not result in burial of justice.

 

Facts/background of the case- The accused was awarded death penalty by the lower court in case of rape and murder of a minor girl. The same was upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High court in 2013. Therefore an appeal was filed by the accused in the Supreme Court. An Amicus Curaie who is someone who is not a party to the case but assists the court by offering information and insight into the case, was appointed by the court.

 

Contentions by the counsel of the accused- Counsel of the accused said Amicus Curaie who was defending the accused didn’t have sufficient time to analyze the matter and speak with the accused. He further contented that Amicus Curaie was appointed on 19th February 2013 and on the same day the counsel was asked to defend the accused of the charges against him.

 

Observations made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court:

·         In the present case, the Amicus Curiae was named on 19.02.2013, and on the same date, the prosecutor was assigned to represent the accused at the charging stage. One can say with certainty that there was not enough time for the Amicus Curiae to go through even the basic records, nor the benefit of any debate or contact with the accused, and time to reflect on the matter. So the allegations were framed even before the Amicus Curiae could get to grips with the matter.

·         The court also observed that the accused was convicted after a 12-day trial and without proper legal representation.

 

The Supreme Court after making the following observations set aside the death penalty awarded to the accused by the trial and the High court and directed de novo consideration of the case and held the following:

Expeditious disposal is undoubtedly required in criminal matters and that would naturally be part of guarantee of fair trial. However, the attempts to expedite the process should not be at the expense of the basic elements of fairness and the opportunity to the accused, on which postulates, the entire criminal administration of justice is founded. In the pursuit for expeditious disposal, the cause of justice must never be allowed to suffer or be sacrificed. What is paramount is the cause of justice and keeping the basic ingredients which secure that as a core idea and ideal, the process may be expedited, but fast tracking of process must never ever result in burying the cause of justice”.

 

In this case the Supreme Court of India highlighted the importance of the principles of criminal and natural justice and the most important principle is being given the proper opportunity of being heard and making a proper legal representation. In this case both were not given as in the name of speedy trial these principles were ignored and the main focus shifted from hearing the appeal to punishing the accused.

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