Article 21 of the Constitution – Fair & Reasonable Procedure

Procedure contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution means “fair and reasonable procedure” which comports with civilised norms like natural justice rooted firm in community consciousness-not primitive processual barbarity nor legislated normative mockery. Right of appeal in a criminal case culminating in conviction was held to be the basis of the civilised jurisprudence. Conferment of right of appeal to meet the requirement of Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be made a fraught by protracting the pronouncement of judgment for reasons which are not attributable either to the litigant or to the State or to the legal profession. Delay in disposal of an appeal on account of inadequate number of Judges, insufficiency of infrastructure, strike of lawyers and the circumstances attributable to the State is understandable but once the entire process of participation in justice delivery system is over and only thing to be done is the pronouncement of judgment, no excuse can be found to further delay for adjudication of the rights of the parties, particularly when it affects any of their rights conferred by the Constitution under Part-III.

Supreme Court
1978 (3) SCC 544 – Madhav Hayawadanrao Hoskot vs. State of Maharashtra