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Impact of Maneka Gandhi Case on Criminal Justice Administration in India

The well known Maneka Gandhi case changed the Criminal Justice Administration. The key to new approach of Administration of criminal is the leading case of Maneka Gandhi. The case also widened the scope of "procedure established by law" and "Due process of law".

In our day to day life we have to hear a lot of news about public prisoning, delay in trials, teasing and many other things. In spite of the socio-economic condition, only. a little has been done to improve the above mentioned conditions. The view of criminal justice administration changed a lot after the case of Maneka Gandhi.

Also the scope of Art. 21 was expanded by the Supreme court in the case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (AIR 1978 SC 597). Therefore, for the scope and ambit Article 21 can be divided into two parts:
  1. Position prior to Maneka Gandhi & case.
  2. Position after Maneka Gandhi's case.

Prior to Maneka Gandhi case Scope of Article 21 came up for consideration in A.K. Gopalan v. Union of India, AIR 1950 SC 27. The court in A.K. Gopalan's case held that 'personal liberty' under Article 21 means nothing more than liberty of physical body i.e. freedom from arrest and detention without the authority of law.

The court held that "law means a 'state made law and it does not include jus natural. The court further held that Article 19 and 21 deal with different aspects of liberty. Thus, the court in A.K. Gopalan's case gave a restrictive interpretation of personal liberty" and "law".

Position After Maneka Gandhi's Case

In Maneka Gandhi's case Supreme Court overruled A.K. Gopalan's case and widened the scope of Article 21. The court held that procedure contemplated under Article 21 could not be unfair and unreasonable. It should be just, fair and reasonable. Similarly law under Article 21 should embody the principles of natural justice.

Article 21 is controlled by Article 19. The law must satisfy the requirement of Article 19 also. The court elaborated that right to life is not merely confined to physical existence but it includes the right to live with human dignity.

In Francis Coralie v. Union Territory of Delhi, AIR 1981 SC 746, Supreme Court held that right to live is not limited to mere animal existence. It is something more than just physical survival

Article 21 Requires The Following Conditions To Be Fulfilled:

  1. There must be a valid "law";
  2. The procedure provided in law must be just, fair and reasonable,
  3. Law must satisfy the requirements of Article 14 and 19.

Impact Of The Case On Criminal Justice Administration

The supreme Court has adopted new approach following fields of administration:
  1. Arrest:

    Arrest means taking into custody of another person under the authorities of law. The Procedure must be right, just and fair and not arbitrary, fanciful or oppressive.
    The person who was been detained / arrested has certain rights:
    1. Right To Be Informed Of The Grounds Of Arrest.
    2. He Has Right That His Close Once Are To Be Informed His Arrest And Place Of Detention.
    3. He Has Right To Consult A Lawyer Privately.
    4.  Right To Be Produced Before A Magistrate Without Delay In 24 Hrs.
    5. Right To Be Examined.

    Many other right have been given to the arrested person after the case of Maneka Gandhi.
     
  2. Fair Trial And Fair Investigation:

    Art. 21 enshrined Right to fair trial in a criminal prosecution. The right to fair trail operates under the concept of until innocent proven guilty. It ensures that government can't and take away someone's freedom and liberties without going through fair & just process of proving a person guilty. It makes sure anyone accused a crime understand what is happening and why they are tried. It helps to ensure that people can trust the criminal justice system of country.
     
  3. Bail:

    The court has diagnosed the root cause for long pre-trial incarceration to be the present day unsatisfactory and irrational rules for bail which insist merely on financial security from the accused and their sureties Many of the undertrials being poor and indigent are unable to provide any financial security consequently, they have to remain in prison awaiting their trial.

    The court has laid down that even under the law as it exists, if the trial court feels satisfied that an accused has his roots in the community and he is not likely to abscond, it can safely release him on personal bond without sureties. The supreme court has laid down guidelines to enable the lower courts to determine whether the accused has his roots in the community which would deter him from felling from justice.

Conclusion:
There has been impact on many other things in the criminal justice administration and after the case all the view points have been changed. In the case of A.K Gopalan the court gave a very narrow view regarding the administration of criminal justice . But after the case of Maneka Gandhi the chests of the constitution widened and the court gave a wider definition of the Article 21 and the scope of criminal justice administration changed.

In order to make the administration of criminal justice effective, vibrant and meaningful, the Union of India, the State Government and all concerned authorities must take necessary steps immediately so that the important constitutional right of the accused of a speedy trial does not remain only on papers or is a mere formality.

The concept of speedy trial is read into Article 21 as an essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed in our Constitution. The Apex Court held that no general guideline can be fixed for outer limits of deciding cases by the courts as each case has to be examined on its own facts and circumstances.

The right to speedy trial begins with the actual restraint imposed by arrest and continues at all stages, namely, the stage of investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal and revision , till it consummates into a finality. Undue delay may well result in impairment of the ability of the accused to defend himself, whether on account of death, disappearance or non-availability of witnesses or otherwise. Fair, just and reasonable procedure implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution creates a right in the accused to be tried speedily.

References:
  1. Dr. J. N Pandey The Constitutional Law Of India 59th Edition
  2. M.P. Jain Indian Constitution Law

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Mihir Trivedi, (Second Year) Student of University Law College, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: SP226378796838-20-0922

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