Home » News » Balancing Act: Madras High Court Advocates for Deliberate Justice, Cautions Against Hasty Trials at the Expense of Defense

The Madras High Court while acknowledging the importance of expedited criminal trials cautioned against hasty justice. There is no doubt that justice delayed is justice denied. By the same token, hasty justice is not a preferred alternative to delayed justice. While an attempt to expedite the processing of criminal cases needs to be appreciated, it should be borne in mind that it should not be at the cost of discouraging the defence to put forth their case. Therefore, while considering the necessity of eliminating delay in the disposal of criminal cases, due care needs to be exercised to prevent undue speed or haste in the matter of disposal because it would result in unfair play.


Dr. A. Paramasivan v. State

Criminal Original Petition No.24531 of 2023

Madras High Court

Coram: Justice AD Jagadish Chandira


  • The petitioner, Paramasivan faced charges under Section 109 of the IPC and Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 accused of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income amounting to 80.48%.
  • This was alleged to have occurred during his tenure as the Director (Audit), AGM-II in the office of the Director General of Audit, Control Expenditure.
  • Amidst the trial, Sadasivan was diagnosed with a rare esophageal cancer leading to hospitalization, surgery and chemotherapy.
  • Despite requests for adjournments, the trial continued recording evidence.
  • Subsequently, a petition under Section 309 CrPC for an adjournment was dismissed prompting the filing of the present petition.


Having examined the documents and the trial judge’s report, the court observed that the judge was made aware of the petitioner’s illness but proceeded with the trial, citing legal provisions restricting trial postponement.

The court unequivocally stated that while the adage “justice delayed is justice denied” holds, hastily delivered justice is not an acceptable substitute for delayed justice. While acknowledging the importance of expediting criminal cases, the court emphasized the need to balance this objective with the fundamental principle that the defence should not be discouraged in presenting its case. The court cautioned against undue speed or haste in the disposal of cases emphasizing that such an approach could lead to unfair outcomes in the pursuit of efficiency.

The court acknowledged that while legal provisions curtailed unnecessary postponements, they did not prohibit them entirely. The postponement was permissible provided reasons were recorded and circumstances were beyond the control of the party requesting it. The court remarked that the trial judge’s focus on expediting the trial had led to overlooking the sincerity of Sadasivan’s request. It emphasized the need for a balanced perspective considering the urgency of a speedy trial and the intentions of the party seeking postponement.


The court emphasized that while efforts should be made to eliminate delays in the disposal of criminal cases, it is crucial to exercise caution to avoid undue speed and haste. The court highlighted that rushing through cases could lead to unfair outcomes and underscored the importance of not discouraging the defence’s case in the pursuit of expediting criminal trials.

The Madras High Court held that while the legal maxim “justice delayed is justice denied” is well-recognized, the court expressed the view that delivering justice hastily is not a preferable alternative to delayed justice.

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