case laws

Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary State Of Bihar

Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary State Of Bihar case

Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary State Of Bihar case is related to free legal aid and speedy trial. This case took place after the article published in the Indian Express newspaper unveiled the presence of a large number of men, women, and children behind prison bars for years awaiting trial in the Court of law, in the state of Bihar.

The question of law was on the fundamental rights of the accused and the duty of the State as expressed in Article 39A of the Constitution concerning free legal services to the poor and the denial of which a delayed trial system would mean the denial of an individual’s life and personal liberty as enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

What was held by the Honourable Apex Court?

According to the Court, the incarceration of these individuals for a long period of time from trial to the commencement of their respective trial resulted in denial of basic freedom, and this amount to the gross violence of human rights. The court found the legal and judicial system working to the disadvantage of the poor and indigent. It gave a call for a restructuring of the Indian judicial system.

In Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary State Of Bihar case court gave a call to abandon the antiquated practice of pretrial release only against bail with sureties. The Court also endorsed bail on personal bonds without monetary obligations.

“The bail system, as it operates today, is a source of great hardship to the poor and if we really want to eliminate the evil effects of poverty and assure a fair and just treatment of the poor in the administration of justice, it is imperative that the bail system should be thoroughly reformed so that it should be possible for the poor, as easily as the rich to obtain pretrial release without jeopardizing the interest of justice.”

Speedy Trial??

According to the Court, the state was duty-bound to enforce the fundamental right of the accused to a speedy trial by taking necessary steps such as setting up Courts and strengthening the investigative machinery. The introduction of a comprehensive legal services program was found to be the need of the hour. Such a program was seen as a solution to the problem of the inability of the poor to obtain bail or engage a lawyer on account of their poverty. The Honourable court also invoked Article 39A of the Indian constitution.

The court said that It is a constitutional right of every accused person who is unable to lawyer and secure legal services on account of reasons such as poverty, indigence, and incommunicado, situation, and the state is mandated to provide a lawyer to the accused person if the circumstances of the case and the need of justice so required. Provided of course an accused person does not subject to the provisions of such a lawyer.

On the basis of the above reasoning, in Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary State Of Bihar case the Honourable court pronounce to release of the undertrial prisoners, mentioned in the two issues of the Indian express on a personal bond without monetary obligation.

Click to comment

Most Popular

To Top