Right of Being Represented Through a Counsel is Part of Due Process Clause and is Referable to the Right Guaranteed under Article 21: SC

The Apex Court has noted that the right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Brief Facts of the Case

This appeal challenges the order dated 06.04.2017 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad dismissing Criminal Appeal No.2798 of 1988.

The appellant and one Buddhu were convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and were sentenced to suffer life imprisonment by the Trial Court.

Criminal Appeal Nos.2798 and 2882 of 1988 were preferred by said convicted accused respectively challenging their conviction and sentence. Accused Buddhu expired during the pendency of the appeal and the proceedings in relation to him stood abated.

The appeal preferred by the appellant came up before the High Court and opening sentences in the judgment passed by the High Court were as under: “List has been revised. None appears on behalf of the appellant to press this appeal, although, name of Sri Malik Sayeed Uddin and Sri C.K. Jha are printed in the cause list, as counsel for the appellant.”  Having noted accordingly, the bench proceeded to consider matter on merits and disposed of the appeal.

Observation of the Court

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 One of the submissions urged on behalf of the appellant is that the appeal was disposed of in absence of any representation on behalf of the appellant, the bench thus observed that,

“It is well accepted that right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In case the Advocate representing the cause of the accused, for one reason or the other was not available, it was open to the Court to appoint Amicus Curiae to assist the Court but the cause in any case ought not to be allowed to go unrepresented.”

Observing so, the Court set-aside the judgment passed by the High Court and restored the Criminal Appeal to the file of the High Court to be disposed of afresh.

Case name: Subedar vs. State of Uttar Pradesh

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.886 OF 2020

Coram: Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat

Right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21: SC

Also Read: Crucial Constitutional Law Judgment – Supreme Court 2020

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