Denial for a Speedy Trial May Be Ground Of Bail In Certain Cases: Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court Speedy Trials

NEW DELHI: Today, Delhi High Court held that the speedy trial is a part of the Constitution under Article 21 and its denial can lead to the bail of a person in some cases.

The Bech headed by Justice Jasmeet Singh noted that denial of bail without any possibility of the trial concluding anytime soon would cause an infringement of the accused person’s right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In the said case the appellant is in judicial custody since the year 2016 and she was covered by the Top Court judgment in the case of Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee (Representing undertrial prisoners) vs. Union of India which held that undertrials cannot indefinitely be detained pending trial.

The application moved by the appellant’s counsel member in which he has mentioned that  in terms of this judgment where an undertrial prisoner is charged with an offense under the Act with a minimum imprisonment of 10 years and a minimum fine of 1 lakh, such an undertrial prisoner may be released on bail if he has been in jail for not less than 5 years subject to conditions prescribed in the said judgment

In this reply, CBI said that this kind of Judgement cannot be applicable in all cases. On Contrary, Delhi High Court said that the judgment of the Supreme Court was not a one-time measure but was meant to apply as a one-time measure in the other cases also where the undertrials were in jail and the conclusion of their trial was nowhere in sight.

Further, Bench said that the Supreme Court had made it clear that its observations were not intended to interfere with the Special Courts’ power to grant bail under Section 37 of the NDPS Act.

This gave the power to the Special Courts under Section 37 and they can grant bail and are at liberty to grant bail even prior to having undergone half of the minimum sentence.

Further, the Special Courts are always free to cancel the bail if the accused is found to be misusing the liberty of bail. The court opined that if bail was denied without any trials, it would be infringing upon her right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Thus, the Court directed to enlarge her on bail upon furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 1 lakhs with two sureties.

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