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Allahabad HC Reiterates That Free Legal Aid Should Be “Real And Meaningful”

By LawStreet News Network      17 January, 2020 01:01 PM      0 Comments

Allahabad High Court in a recent order in the case of Shadaan Ansari v. State of UP & Ors. on 14 January, 2020 has reiterated that the free legal aid provided to the poor should be “real and meaningful”.

In the order Justice Rajeev Singh wrote, Section 303and 304of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 read with Rule 37 of General Rules (Criminal), 1977 framed by Allahabad High Court clearly provides for providing legal aid to defend the accused, which must be real and effective aid to an accused and it is the duty of the trial court to ensure proper compliance of the requirement to fair trial. Now, it is a fundamental right under Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India, 1949 that the accused has a right to be defended by the competent practitioner. Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Mohd. Hussain & Julfikar Ali (supra) has clearly held that it is the duty of the trial court to ensure proper compliance of the requirement to fair trial as the accused as a right of being provided the real and effective legal aid.” 

The court also said that if adequate legal resources are not provided then that will be violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. 

The observations were made while allowing a review petition quashing the order passed by Special Judge (POCSO) the application of cross-examination of witness was rejected. 

The law presumes each individual equal in its eyes and therefore each individual should have equal and adequate opportunity to present his case in a court of law. With 70 percent people in rural India being illiterate and unaware of the intricacies of law, the court is duty bound to provide competent legal aid. 

Author: Nandini Gandhi

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