Right to speedy trial is a part of the fundamental right and an undertrial cannot be kept in jail for long, the SC ruled while directing trial courts to decide bails within a week of their filing.
A bench headed by Justice AK Goel also fixed a two-week time frame for the high courts to dispose of bail applications. The court issued a series of directions to speed up criminal justice delivery system, saying , “Deprivation of personal liberty without ensuring speedy trial is not consistent with Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty).”
Adherence to time-frame should be a criteria while the HCs prepare annual confidential report of trial court judges, the SC said. Magistrates should conclude cases where accused are in custody in six months , while a sessions court should do so in two years, the bench ordered. It asked the lower judiciary to dispose of five-year-old cases by year end.