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Fair trial is an important aspect of our society without fair trial innocent people are convicted this hinders the principles of rule of law and public faith in justice system. The right to a fair trial is a right under article 6 of human right act .  Rule of law ensuring administration of justice talk about the fair trial of the convicts. Fair trial gives fair and proper opportunities to prove innocence to the convict . An impartial judge shall treat all parties equally which is the most important part of the judicial system.

In    Zahira Habibullah Sheikh and ors. Vs. State of Gujarat and ors,   The Supreme Court of India states that each one has a right to  fair  trial . Refusal of a fair trial is not only an injustice to the accused but also to the victim and to society. Fair trial means a trial before an impartial judge, a fair prosecutor . Trial in which bias or prejudice for or against the accused, are present should be  eliminated.

Indian Constitution :  fair trial is the fundamental right

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides protection to the convicts . It says no person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except to the  procedure established by law and it adds the quality of life , right to live with human dignity , right to livelihood is the primary aspect of human being life .  It provide   right to a reasonable, fair, and just trial.

In  Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India the supreme court held that right to live is not a physical right but includes right to live with human dignity .the procedural rights also includes right to information and document  which being used against him will deprive him, of a due opportunity to defend himself which is the human right to free and fair trial

In the case P. Ramachandra Rao v. the State of Karnataka (2002), the Court established that under Sections 309311, and 258 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides the right provides for  speedy trial. The High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution can be used to seek appropriate remedy and directives.  fundamental right under Article 21focuses on right to quick and fair trial.

Sec 243 CRPC : evidence for defence

It is obligatory on the part of the trial court to issue process when rhe accused seeks summoning of any witnesses or production of any document in his defence

Principles of impartial trial

  • Adversary system

Our country adopts human system of criminal trial. in step with this any dispute on the criminal responsibility of someone is to be resolved by the judicature when giving truthful and adequate chance to the person before the court of their several cases. It permits associate Impartial and competent court to own correct perspective of the case and it’s a more robust device to get the reality in an exceedingly truthful manner. In such, state  represent the victim and therefore the state starts an attempt against the suspect.

This system recognized equal right and chance to each the parties. Further, the code needs the judicature to play a a lot of active and positive role than that of mere referee within the combat between the prosecutor-state and therefore the suspect person. The charge against the suspect is to be framed not by the prosecution however by the court when considering the circumstance of the case and lawyer cannot withdraw from the case while not the consent of the court.

Himanshu  v.  State of MP two case apex court fanciful that below free trial the Code is not granted to the gatherings and court has motivations to simply accept that organization or examiner is not acting within the imperative means and therefore the court will observe its power below section 311 and 165 of the Code of the Indian evidence Act, 1872 to bring for the material witness and acquire the necessary reports so as to serve the reason  for equity.

  • Presumption of innocence

An accused has the right to be presumed innocent until he is  proven guilty and this is a central role of our criminal justice system. It is the responsibility of the state to prove the guilty.  If the accused is silent, it should not be used as evidence of guilt or as a reason to place them in pre-trial detention.

State of U.P. V. Naresh and Ors  in (2001) 4 SCC 324, the Supreme Court observed every accused is assumed to be innocent unless his guilt is proved. The presumption of innocence is a human right subject to the statutory exceptions. The said principle forms the basis of criminal jurisprudence in India.”

  • Independent, impartial and competent judge

The most essential feature of a fair criminal trial is to have an independent, impartial and competent Judge to conduct the trial. The Code has provided for the separation of the judicial from the executive and it would ensure the independent functioning of judicial free of all suspicion of executive influence or control.The right to an independent and impartial tribunal established by law is a right of every convict

  • Expeditious trial

Article 21 of the Constitution confers an inviolable fundamental right of expeditious trial to the applicant main purpose of expeditious trial  (1) to set off the right of the accused to a speedy trial; (2) timely resolution of criminal cases in a fair and accurate manner according to public interest and (3)  ensuring the effective utilization of resources.

Doctrine of double jeopardy under article 20 (2)

According to this doctrine if someone is tired and not guilty  of any offence he can’t be tired more than once for same offence or on same facts for the other offence. This doctrine has been considerably incorporated in Article 20(2) of the constitution and is additionally embodied in section 300 of the code. The second or future trial in violation of the higher than doctrine would mean unjust harassment of the suspect person and may be thought of as something however truthful and has prohibited each by the code and the constitution.

In S.A. Venkatraman V. Union of India  case the Supreme Court states that the procedure taken before the Enquiry Commissioner did not add up to a commission for an offense. it had been within the plan of truth finding to prompt the govt for disciplinary activity against the appellant. It cannot be aforesaid that the individual has been indicted.

  • Hearing ought to be in open court

Fair trial needs public hearing in associate open court. Section 327 of the Code makes provision for open court usually accessible to the members of the general public.
According to section 327 the place wherever the court is in command shall be open court that the general public might have access. Public trial in open court is an incredible instrument for creating certainty of public in reasonableness, sound judgement and fair mindedness of the organization

In the case of Naresh Sridhar Mirajkar V. State of Maharashtra  AIR 1967 SC 1 , the apex court observed that the right to open trial must not be denied except in exceptional circumstances. High Court has inherent jurisdiction to hold trials or part of a trial in camera or to prohibit publication of a part of its proceedings.  

According to section 479

1. No judge or magistarte shall expect with permission of the upper court strive or commit for trial any case to or during which he’s a party or personally interested
2. No judge or a magistrate shall hear any appeal from any judgement or order passed or created by himself.
3. Transfer of case to secure impartial trial- in step with section a hundred ninety (1) c, a magistrate has power to require cognizance of any offence might do upon his own knowledge concerning the commission of any such offence. However, in such case the suspect should be told before any proof is taken that he’s entitled to own the case tried by another magistrate sec. 191
Secondly, whenever it’s created to look to the high court that a good and impartial inquiry or trial can’t be command in any criminal court  subordinate thereto might subject to condition set down in section 407, order that (I) any offence be inquired into or tired by the other competent court or

(ii) that any explicit case or category of case be transferred from a court subordinate to its authority to the other judicature. Similarly, the ability of transfer of cause given to the Supreme court and therefore the session court by section 406 and 408.

In Ambazhagan V. Superintendent of police four, Supreme court command that party interseted about sec 406(2) would comprehend political opponents of the suspect spoken communication they’re the watch dogs of the govt. . in power. The petitioner wished the criminal case filed against the Chief Minister of the state to be transferred out of the state. The Supreme court ordered spoken communication that  The petitioner has raised several excusable and affordable apprehensions of miscarriage of justice would need our interference in exercise of power below sec.406 CrPC.

  • Knowledge to the accused of his accusation and adequate opportunity

Accused ought to be truthful opportunity to defend himself and therefore the particulars of the offence of that he’s suspect shall be declared to him . The proper to own precise and specific accusation is contained in Section 211 of the Code.
he particulars of the offence of that he’s suspect shall be declared to him. [Ss.228, 240, 246, 25].  Just in case of serious offence, the court is needed to border in writing a proper charge and so to explain and make a case for the charge to the suspect

The right to have precise and specific accusation is contained in section 211 Criminal procedure code The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of a defence applies not only to the defendant but to his or her defence counsel as well.

  • Trial in presence of accused

The presence of the suspect throughout his trial will be understood from the provisions which permit the Court to dispense with the non-public attending of the suspect person under certain circumstances , a magistrate issuing summons might dispense with the non-public attending of the suspect and allow him to look by his advocate (Section 205). Section 317 empowers the court to dispense with personal attendance of the accused person at his trial.
This power will be exercised on condition that the suspect person is represented by a lawyer. The Court is additionally needed to record its reasons for such order.

  • Evidence to be taken in presence of accused
  • Section 273 of the Code contemplated that evidence to be taken in presence of accused.

According to section 273 all evidences taken in presence of the accused or when his personal attendance is dispensed with in the presence of his pleader . according to sec. 279 , any evidence can be given in any language and if not understood it shall be converted in language understood by him . if any accused is of unsound mind and is unable to understand the proceeding in such case special provision in section 328 -339 shall be applied .

  • Cross-examination of prosecution witnesses

Evidence given by witnesses may become more reliable if given on oath and tested by cross-examination. Though the burden of proving the guilt is entirely on the prosecution and though the law does not require the accused to 52 lead evidence to prove his innocence, yet a criminal trial in which the accused is not permitted to give evidence to disprove the prosecution case, or to prove any special defence available to him, cannot by any standard be considered as just and equitable.

The requirement of fair trial involves an opportunity to the accused to have a counsel of his own choice, and  the duty of the state to provide a counsel to the accused in certain cases. The Law Commission of India in its 14th Report has mentioned that free legal aid to persons of limited means is a service which a Welfare State owes to it citizens. The right to be defended by a legal practitioner, flowing from Article 22(1) of the Constitution has further been stated in the Directive Principles of State Policy embodied in Article 39 A of the Constitution . The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 and enactment of sub-section 1 of Section 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Legal assistance to a poor person facing trial whose life and personal liberty is voilated is provided not only by the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure but also by International Covenants and Human Rights Declarations. Every person, therefore, has a right to a fair trial by a competent court  The object and purpose of providing competent legal aid to undefended and unrepresented accused persons are to see that the accused gets free and fair, just and reasonable trial of charge in a criminal case.


Speedy trial is a right of every accused. Delayed justice leads to unnecessary harassment. Sec.309(1) provides “in every inquiry or trial, the proceedings shall be held as expeditiously as possible, and in particular, when the examination of witnesses has once begun, the same shall be continued from day to day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons  to be recorded.
Sada Shiv Manohar Parkar Vs. State of Maharashtra, 1998 Crl. LJ 3755). The right to speedy criminal trial is one of the most valuable fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen under the Constitution, which right is integral part of right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21.


  • Krishan kumar v. State of delhi

Fair trial is the hallmark of criminal procedure , it entails not only rights of victims but also interest of accused. It is the duty of the court to ensure fair and proper opportunities are granted to the accused for just decision of the case. Adducing of evidence by the accused in support of his defence is also a valuable right and allowing the same in the interest of justice.

  • Bhagwani v. State of Madhya Pradesh

Conviction and death sentence on the same day for kidnapping , rape and murder of an 11 year old. Adequate opportunity to produce relevant material on the question of death sentence should be provided to the accused by the trial . In court opinion death sentence required to be commuted to life imprisonment .

  • Vikas Chawla v State of NCT Delhi

Pre trial detention are grave in nature and keeping an under trial in custody would impact right to defend himself during trial and his right to fair trail gets violated


Equality , liberty ,justice are the basic highlights of our preamble and it is the right of every single citizen of our nation . Criminal justice system and the constitution provides for equality of access to justice and fundamental principles of fair trial . Fair Trial is the hallmark of criminal procedure and the court shall ensure fair and proper opportunities to the accused for just decision .


Author: Mitali Upadhyay, Chanakya Law College Kumaun University

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India

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