Release on Bail In Cases of Delay in Conclusion of Trial is not Only a Statutory Right but It is Also Strongly Supported by Articles 4, 9 and 10A of the Constitution.

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An Accused cannot be Punished for the Fault of a Court. Release on Bail In Cases of Delay in Conclusion of Trial is not Only a Statutory Right but It is Also Strongly Supported by Articles 4, 9 and 10A of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has interpreted in a new way the third proviso to section 497 the Cr.P.C, which grants a statutory right to an arrested accused person who is accused of an offence punishable with death and his trial has not concluded within two years, provided that the delay has not been occasioned by act or omission of the accused neither anyone else who is acting on his behalf. The new jurisprudence the Court has tried to develop in this caseย  is that the Court has held that the statutory right under the third proviso to section 497 of the Cr.P.C is not only provided by the said proviso but it is at the same time firmly supported by Articles 4, 9 and 10A of the Constitution. An accused cannot be tried accept in accordance with law. The courts and other state authorities are under obligation to deal with an accused in accordance with the Constitution and law, not otherwise. Articles 4 and 9 of the Constitution envisage respectively that a person shall be dealt with in accordance with law and no one can be deprived of life and liberty except in accordance with law. Similarly, Article 10A also mandates that due process of law and fair trial must be taken into account and they must be adhered to while convicting an accused.

If the said proviso is read with these Articles, the statutory right provided thereunder becomes more stronger and the courts must give due consideration to this aspect of the proviso. A bail in such a scenario can only be denied if the delay has been caused by an act or omission of the accused, not the court. In the case in hand, the delay was occasioned by the repeated adjournments of the Lahore High Court which the case de-listed numerous times and the case was delayed for more than three years. Hence, the SC granted bail to the accused. The Court has also issued direction to place a copy of this judgment before the Chief Justice of the LHC to improve the administration of the High Court.

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crl.p._894_l_2023

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