Context of Speedy Trial juxtaposed to Fair Trial

Reference may also be placed on the decision in Pooja Pal v. Union of India and Others reported in (2016) 3 SCC 135, where the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India were discussed in the context of “speedy trial” juxtaposed to “fair trial” in the following manner:

“83. A “speedy trial”, albeit the essence of the fundamental right to life entrenched in Article 21 of the Constitution of India has a companion in concept in “fair trial”, both being inalienable constituents of an adjudicative process, to culminate in a judicial decision by a court of law as the final arbiter. There is indeed a qualitative difference between right to speedy trial and fair trial so much so that denial of the former by itself would not be prejudicial to the accused, when pitted against the imperative of fair trial. As fundamentally, justice not only has to be done but also must appear to have been done, the residuary jurisdiction of a court to direct further investigation or reinvestigation by any impartial agency, probe by the State Police notwithstanding, has to be essentially invoked if the statutory agency already in charge of the investigation appears to have been ineffective or is presumed or inferred to be not being able to discharge its functions fairly, meaningfully and fructuously. As the cause of justice has to reign supreme, a court of law cannot reduce itself to be a resigned and a helpless spectator and with the foreseen consequences apparently unjust, in the face of a faulty investigation, meekly complete the formalities to record a foregone conclusion. Justice then would become a casualty. Though a court’s satisfaction of want of proper, fair, impartial and effective investigation eroding its credence and reliability is the precondition for a direction for further investigation or reinvestigation, submission of the charge-sheet ipso facto or the pendency of the trial can by no means be a prohibitive impediment. The contextual facts and the attendant circumstances have to be singularly evaluated and analysed to decide the needfulness of further investigation or reinvestigation to unravel the truth and mete out justice to the parties. The prime concern and the endeavour of the court of law is to secure justice on the basis of true facts which ought to be unearthed through a committed, resolved and a competent investigating agency.”

(Emphasis supplied)

Supreme Court
Pooja Pal v. Union of India and Others reported in (2016) 3 SCC 135
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