SC rules speedy trial fundamental right of accused

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court today ruled that speedy trial is a fundamental right of an accused.

A bench comprising Justices SB Sinha and Lokeshwar Singh Panta in its judgement, while allowing an appeal of an accused in a cheque bounce case, said, " There exists a distinction between a civil case and a criminal case. Speedy trial is a fundamental right of an accused.

''The order passed by the competent court of law as also the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure must be construed having regard to the constitutional scheme and the legal principles in mind.

''The High Court in our opinion, therefore, misdirected itself in passing the impugned judgement. It can, therefore not be sustained.

We set aside the order of the High Court, accordingly the appeal is allowed." The apex court also found fault with the stand taken by the High Court that though the respondents were not interested in prosecuting the case yet lis between the parties should be decided on merit rather than on technicalities.

The trial court had acquitted the appellant S Ramakrishna after the complainant kept the matter pending for five years by seeking adjournments.

The complainant S Rami Reddy died during the pendency of the case.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court, however, set aside the order of acquittal passed by the trial judge.

UNI SC NY RP RL KP1956

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