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Fair Trial



The right to fair trial is an essential right in all countries respecting the rule of law.

The essential ingredients for a fair and just trial must include a competent, neutral and detached judge; the absence of any intimidation of witnesses and equal legal representation, such as a right to counsel for criminal defendants.


Let us take the case of ‘State vs Shanthi Hembram’ to understand the meaning of a ‘Fair trial’.

As seen earlier in the lesson, Shanthi who was accused of theft in her employer’s house was acquitted of the crime and set free as it was a Fair Trial.

Now let us see the sequence of events if the trial had not been fair.

  • If the court had not given a copy of the charge sheet to the accused
  • If the trial had been held in a secret location
  • If a lawyer had not been provided for Shanthi who could not afford a lawyer
  • If Shanthi’s lawyer had not been given enough time to argue the case

Several procedures have to be observed to ensure that the trial is fair.

  • Article 21 of the constitution has to be upheld
  • A copy of the charge sheet and all other evidence has to be given to the accused
  • The trial has to be held in an open court, in public view.
  • The trial has to be held in the presence of the accused
  • The accused have to be given a lawyer to defend themselves
  • The Prosecution has to prove beyond doubt the guilt of the accused
  • The Judge has to pass the judgement only on the basis of the evidence before the court.

The Criminal Justice System ensures that every citizen, irrespective of their class, caste, gender, religious and ideological backgrounds gets a fair trial if accused.

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