Right to Speedy Trial


The preamble of the Indian Constitution states that India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic and Republic country which provide Justice, Liberty and Equality to all its citizens. Justice means providing relief to a person with whom something wrong has happened. The natural principle of justice states that “It should not only be done but it should see to have been done” which means if there is delay in justice, there is no justice for a person who suffers. Right to Speedy Trial is first introduced in US by the sixth amendment of the US Constitution and by the Speedy Trial Act of 1974. In India, the concept of Speedy Trial is introduced in Hussainara Khatoon vs. State of Bihar[1]. In this case the Supreme Court done a broad interpretation of Article 21, and state that the Right to Speedy trial is a Fundamental Right. Speedy Trial is an essence of the Criminal Justice. “Delay in Trial constitutes a denial of Justice”, means if there is a delay in trial then it is a denial of justice. In India, there is no limit of dissolving any case so there is a delay in justice and an innocent person suffers because of this. Justice is meant to be fair, simple and speedy. Speedy Trial is important to improve the condition of criminal justice in India; it will give justice to innocent person and cases will not pending so long.


India is a democratic country that is governed by various rules and regulations which is given in the Indian Constitution; it is governed by rule of law. Rule of law means that no one is above the law, that law doesn’t give any special rights for any individual or group of individuals. Rule of law also include that there should be a fair trial and there should be a speedy trial. The right to speedy trial is as important as the fundamental right which is given in the constitution it means that there is no delay in trials. India is a developing country and development of any country is measured by the economic and judicial system of a country, the living standard of people living there also includes fair and speedy trial.


Protection of life and personal liberty, Article 21 is a very broad article as it includes right to life and a person has all the rights to enjoy their life what they want to do they can do so. In this case, SC held that travel to abroad be his right to personal liberty and the government cannot deny passport[2]. In Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India,[3] in this case SC overruled the Gopalan’s case,[4] and applied American Doctrine and said that procedure mentioned in Article 21 must be just, fair and reasonable.

Right to Fair Trial, Justice should be meant only when it is done fair without any partiality and bias with anyone. If it is not fair then it reduces the quality of judicial system and people lose their faith in the judiciary and they suffer a lot and there is injustice with the innocent. There should be right to free trial and it is given in Article 21.

Right to Speedy Trial, In India delay in the disposal of cases is a major drawback in the judicial system. Justice that comes too late has no meaning to a person for whom it is meant. There is no specific right is given as right to a speedy trial as a fundamental right but there is an essence of this right to improve the quality of criminal reforms. There is also no maximum time period for the disposition of any case. The case can be in processing for ten years, or more than that also; this is not providing justice to a person who is under trial. Delay in justice and a long time for trials will also affect a person physically, emotionally and mentally and financially. But the SC do a broad interpretation of Article 21 and state that right to speedy trial is a fundamental right as implicit in Article 21[5]. There should be a right to speedy trial and it must be just, fair and reasonable and there should be a fair trial. There is a need of speedy trial as a person who is innocent is under trial for 10 years and prove innocent after that, then it is not providing justice to him, society already see him as a criminal and it also violate his right to life. For the smooth working of judicial system and for improving the quality of criminal reforms, there should be a right to a speedy trial.


No one has a right to violate the fundamental right of human beings which is given by the Constitution of India. The state is the guardian of fundamental rights of all the citizens which ensures the right to a speedy trial and to avoid the long delays in trial of criminal cases. If there is a delay in trial it means there is a denial of justice. Speedy Trial is an urgent need of criminal reforms as there are many cases pending in the courts, pendency of large number of undertrials. There should be a fair speedy trial. There should be a limited time period for the disposal of cases. For all the criminal offenses there should be a time specified. There should be a fair speedy trial; it will also give a good message to the society.

[1] Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar, AIR 1979 SC 1360.

[2] Satuwant Singh vs. Assistant Passport Officer AIR 1967 SC 1836

[3] Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India AIR 1978 SC 597

[4] Gopalan vs. State of Madras AIR 1950 SC 27

[5] Supra note 1

This article has been authored by Nidhi from Geeta Institute of Law.

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