Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
In its judgment in the Mirani case in 1998, the Supreme Court of Pakistan stated:
12. … It may be observed that by now it is a well settled proposition that a person cannot be condemned without providing him a fair opportunity to meet the allegation. In this regard reference may be made to the case of Government of Balochistan through Additional Chief Secretary v Azizullah Memmon and 16 others (PLD 1993 SC 341), wherein after referring certain case law the following conclusion was recorded by this Court as to the right of access to Courts and justice:–
“12 Another aspect of the case is that by these provisions the rights of access to Courts and justice has been denied. This by itself is an infringement of fundamental rights which provide that every citizen shall be entitled to equal protection of law and will not be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law. An examination of Articles 9 and 25 read collectively does not permit the Legislature to frame such law which may bar right of access to the Courts of law and justice. This aspect of the case was considered in Sharaf Faridi v Islamic Republic of Pakistan … as follows:–
The right of “access to justice to all” is a well-recognised inviolable right enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution. This right is equally found in the doctrine of “due process of law”. The right of access to justice includes the right to be treated according to law, the right to have a fair and proper trial and a right to have an impartial Court or Tribunal. This conclusion finds support from the observation of Willoughby in Constitution of United States, Second Edition, Vol. II at page 1709 where the term “due process of law” has been summarised as follows:
(1) He shall have due notice of proceedings which affect his rights.
(2) He shall be given reasonable opportunity to defend.
(3) That the Tribunal or Court before which his rights are adjudicated is so constituted as to give reasonable assurance of his honesty and impartiality, and
(4) That it is a Court of competent jurisdiction.”
13. The above extract indicates what are the basic requirements of the doctrine “due process of law”, which is enshrined inter alia in Article 4 of our Constitution. It is intrinsically linked with the right to have access to justice, which this Court has held inter alia in the above report as a fundamental right. This right inter alia includes the right to have a fair and proper trial and a right to have an impartial Court or Tribunal. A person cannot be said to have been given a fair and proper trial unless he is provided a reasonable opportunity to defend the allegation made against him.