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Delay in Trial of offences

In land mark case i.e A R Antulay vs R.S Nayek it was submitted that delay in each stage for trial of an accused violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner. This decision has been considered by this court in Ghanshyam Mohanty vs State of Orissa, ( 1993) 6 OCR 66, Where question of a proceeding s on account of delay was taken in to consideration. Therein it has been observed:

" The question of quashing of criminal prosecution on the grounds of delay has Last received consideration of the Supreme Court in a five judge decision reported in Abdul Rahman Antulay vs R .S Nayek:
The broad features which their Lordship have pointed out as being necessary to be considered on the question of quashing of criminal prosecutions are in the background of Art 21 of the Constitution of India that speedy trial is also in the public interest and serves social interest.

It was classified that right to speedy trial flowing from Article 21encompasses all stages of investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision and re trial. While determining undue delay has occurred, the factors necessary to be considered are all the attendant circumstances, including the nature of offences, the number of accused, and the witnesses, the work load of the court concerned, the prevailing local conditions and so on.

Though it is the obligation of the State to ensure speedy trial and the State includes judiciary as well ,yet a realistic and practicall approach should be adopted in such matters instead of a pedantic one and ultimately the court has to balance and weight the relevant factors and determine in such cases as to whether the right to speedy trial has been denied in a given case.

In considering the question of delay, the concerns which the Court views from the point of view of the accused are inter alia, the worry, anxiety, expanses and disturbance to his vocation and peace resulting from an unduly prolonged investigation, enquiry and trial which should be minimal.

Notice was also taken that 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 other wise. In this background, the facts of the present case are to be considered.

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