Case Between Anokhilal and State: Legal Aid and Fair Trial

In a significant ruling by the Supreme Court of India, the case involving Anokhilal and the State delves into the critical aspects of legal aid and ensuring a fair trial process. The judgment highlights the importance of upholding the fundamental rights of individuals accused of offenses, emphasizing equality and justice. The Court’s decision sets a precedent for the future application of legal assistance in criminal cases, ensuring that justice is served without compromise.


  • The report from the DNA Finger Printing Unit connects the accused with the crime.
  • Immediate charge-sheet submission after the arrest of the accused.
  • Quick trial from 19 February to 02 March, 2013.
  • Thanks for the assistance of the defense for ensuring a speedy trial.
  • Registration of Criminal Reference No.4/2013 for confirmation of death sentence.
  • Appeal filed by the appellant challenging conviction and sentence.
  • High Court affirmed Trial Court’s decision and upheld death sentence.
  • Attempts made to get in touch with the accused by the advocate.
  • Present case considered as ‘rarest of rare’ due to circumstances and accused’s prior conviction.
  • Application rejected despite defense’s objection.
  • Hearing for all appeals began on 04.12.2008.
  • Mandatory exercise as per the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee’s directions.
  • No separate sentence for Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 violation.
  • Defense has no objections to the documents being taken on record.
  • Adjournment of matters requested to arrange for videoconferencing with the accused.
  • Accused was not seen alone after the incident as he absconded.
  • Last seen alive with the accused by Kirti Bai, placing them in proximity to the crime.
  • Mr. Shikhil Suri appeared for the accused in both cases.
  • Accused Anokhilal son of Sitaram convicted under various sections including Section 302 IPC and sentenced to death.
  • High Court allowed an appeal after six years and remanded the case for retrial.
  • Six accused sentenced to death but later appeals were filed by accused and the State seeking different outcomes.
  • Court observed that some accused were deprived of the opportunity to be heard during the appeals.
  • Accused convicted under multiple sections including Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • Trial Court amended the charge to which accused pleaded not guilty, and witnesses were examined.
  • Sentence of imprisonment to run concurrently, and accused sentenced to death by hanging.
  • Separate orders of sentence pronounced for different offences.

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  • The appellant argued that the belated appointment of counsel by the Sessions Judge deprived him of adequate legal aid, hindering his proper defense.
  • The appellant contended that the procedure followed by the court was not in accordance with the law and may result in a breach of his fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The appointed counsel for the appellant was not given sufficient time to prepare the defense as no record indicated so.
  • Mr. Varun Chopra, Deputy Advocate General argued for the State
  • He stated that the evidence clearly indicated the guilt of the accused
  • He supported the order of conviction by the lower Courts
  • He emphasized that there was no need for any interference in the conviction

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  • The court emphasized the importance of providing sufficient time to the Amicus Curiae to prepare the defense in each case.
  • The judgment highlighted the failure to comply with the rule of providing adequate time to the Amicus Curiae for trial preparation.
  • It noted that in the present case, the Amicus Curiae was appointed on the same date as the charges were framed, limiting their ability to fulfill their role effectively.
  • The court pointed out the essential duty of the Trial Court to grant ample time for the Amicus Curiae to study the case and interact with the accused.
  • Concern was raised regarding the confusion around DNA reports and FSL reports which significantly impacted the trial process.
  • The judgment mentioned the significance of facilitating dialogue between the counsel and the accused for a fair trial, advocating for video-conferencing facilities for legal aid in criminal cases.
  • It cited previous cases where insufficient time given to the Amicus Curiae was considered a breach of the accused’s right to adequate defense preparation.
  • The principle of providing free legal aid and fair trial under Article 39-A of the Constitution was reiterated.
  • The directive to extend real and meaningful assistance to the accused through legal aid services was underscored.
  • The court emphasized on the need for full opportunity at every stage, especially in cases involving life imprisonment or death sentence.
  • The judgment highlighted the importance of recording evidence through video-conferencing to expedite trial processes.
  • It stressed the obligation of the court to ensure a just and speedy trial, considering the gravity of the offences charged against the accused.
  • The accused has been sentenced to death.
  • According to Section 366 Cr.P.C., the death penalty should not be executed until confirmed by the High Court.
  • Section 366(2) Cr.P.C. directs the handing over of the accused sentenced to death to the custody of the jail.
  • The right to free legal services is an essential component of a fair and just procedure for individuals accused of offenses, implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Article 39-A of the Constitution emphasizes on equal justice and free legal aid, ensuring justice is not denied based on economic or other disabilities.
  • The State is mandated to provide free legal aid to an accused person if circumstances and justice require, provided the accused does not object.
  • Exceptions to free legal aid may dilute the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21, impacting cases like terrorism.
  • Failure to provide free legal assistance can lead to a violation of the accused person’s fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The principle of fair trial is crucial and should not be compromised, ensuring justice is not sacrificed while expediting the legal process.
  • Legal services should be provided to eligible individuals at all stages of proceedings, without distinction between trial and appellate stages.
  • The basis of a criminal trial is the search for truth and justice, not technicalities, to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.
  • The balance between an accused’s right to speedy trial and societal impact of the crime must be weighed, ensuring justice is not delayed unjustly.
  • The Court’s duty is to ensure justice is served fairly, without violating due process, by conducting trials that are real and not farcical.
  • No hard and fast rule in this context
  • Judgments of conviction and orders of sentence passed by the Trial Court and the High Court set aside
  • Directing de novo consideration
  • Interactions may prove helpful as noticed in Imtiyaz Ramzan Khan

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  • The accused is informed of the right to appeal and the period of appeal according to Section 363(4) Cr.P.C.
  • In matters concerning the confirmation of death sentences, Senior Advocates of the Court should be considered as Amicus Curiae.
  • A minimum of seven days’ time is usually considered appropriate before proceeding further.
  • The matter is to go back to the tribunal for reevaluation.
  • Appreciation and gratitude expressed for the assistance provided by Mr. Luthra, the learned Amicus Curiae.
  • Request made for Mr. Luthra to assist the Court in deciding other issues as per previous Orders.
  • Substantive appeals stand disposed of, with a listing scheduled for 18.02.2020.
  • Order of conviction and sentence passed by the Special Court and the High Court are set aside for a de novo trial.
  • Appellant can request a lawyer under Section 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code or legal aid scheme if not represented by one.


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-000062-000063 / 2014

Click here to read/download original judgement

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