The Supreme Court said that disposal of cases in a fast-track manner should not result in the burying of the cause of justice, as a bench comprising of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Krishna Murari set aside death penalty which was awarded to one Anokilal in case of rape and murder of a minor girl.

The trial finished in 13 days in the lower court and the award of death penalty was upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2013. And therefore an appeal was filed by the accused in the Supreme Court.

In this appeal, the counsel appearing for the accused pointed-out that the Amicus Curiae, who was appointed by the lower court for the purpose of defending the accused didn’t have sufficient time to analyze the matter, or to speak with the accused, or to take the advice of a Probation Officer.

After listening to the matter, the court was also of the view that the Amicus Curiae didn’t have enough time to do the abovementioned things and said:

“In the present case, the Amicus Curiae, was appointed on 19.02.2013, and on the same date, the counsel was called upon to defend the accused at the stage of framing of charges. One can say with certainty that the Amicus Curiae did not have sufficient time to go through even the basic documents, nor the advantage of any discussion or interaction with the accused, and time to reflect over the matter. Thus, even before the Amicus Curiae could come to grips of the matter, the charges were framed.”

The Supreme Court after setting aside the order of the Trial Court and High Court, directed de novo consideration of the case and held the following:

 “Expeditious disposal is undoubtedly required in criminal matters and that would naturally be part of guarantee of fair trial. However, the attempts to expedite the process should not be at the expense of the basic elements of fairness and the opportunity to the accused, on which postulates, the entire criminal administration of justice is founded. In the pursuit for expeditious disposal, the cause of justice must never be allowed to suffer or be sacrificed. What is paramount is the cause of justice and keeping the basic ingredients which secure that as a core idea and ideal, the process may be expedited, but fast tracking of process must never ever result in burying the cause of justice.”

Link to judgment:

Anokhilal v. State of MP

Link to image: