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Report No. 87

5. Hussainara Khatoon (IV) v. Home Secretary, AIR 1979 SC 1369: (1979) 3 SCR 532 (537).

In this case, while considering the rights of the accused and the constitutional obligation of the State, the Supreme Court referred to Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India and said that it was now well settled (as a result of the decision in Maneka Gandhi's case), that it was not enough that there should be some semblance of procedure provided by law, but the procedure under which a person may be deprived of his life or liberty should be 'reasonable, fair and just'. A procedure which did not make available legal services to an accused person who is too poor to afford a lawyer and who would, therefore, have to go through the trial without legal assistance, could not possibly be regarded as 'reasonable, fair and just'. It is an essential ingredient of reasonable, fair and just procedure that a prisoner, who is to seek his liberation through the court's process, should have legal services available to him.

Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 Back

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