In the case of Ram Niwas vs The State of UP, the application was filed questioning the validity of keeping the accused person under judicial custody when the trial was not a feasible option due to COVID – 19 situations. It was submitted that if the trial court cannot conduct the proceedings, it is not logically correct to keep the accused person under judicial custody. The COVID – 19 situations are not likely to be resolved in the coming days. Therefore, the question put forth before the court was whether the liberty of the accused is being curtailed by the courts by keeping him under judicial custody and not conducting the trial. The primary reason the accused is kept under judicial custody is so that the trial can be conducted at the earliest but if there is any delay then the counsel appearing for the state has to give reasons for the delay in initiating the trial proceedings. The courts are always of the opinion that the fundamental right granted to every citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution should not be denied.
This instant case was heard by the single-judge Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan who looked into the report submitted by the trial court. The trial court very comprehensively stated that the charges against the accused have been filed under March 26, 2019, but keeping in mind the safety measures of COVID-19 the trial was withheld. The High court of Allahabad took the status report by the trial court on its face value and came to the conclusion that the trial was unable to proceed on account of the COVID-19 situation. In this instant case, the liberty of the accused becomes a vital factor for the courts to consider. The courts will have to answer whether the right to life and personal liberty of the accused in the judicial custody is being violated or not and give logical reasoning for detaining the person for extended periods of time without the commencement of trial. This matter is listed to be heard on December 7, 2020.