Context:- Minneapolis police officer who was accused of horrific murder of a hapless citizen, sentenced to 22 and half years in prison. Floyd was videotaped in May 2020, that showed the officer was kneeling on Floyd neck because of this government and public distrust of the police will further widen. Same episode got repeated in India when in Sattankulam, Tamil Nadu, June 2020, a 58 year old father and his 31year old son were subject to police brutality and died. There were curbs on the police authority to investigate an established crime by the court.
What is the issue:-
Recently the Supreme Court said that courts have no authority to direct an investigating officer to in turn direct the arrest of any particular individual connected with a crime.
Why court said that:-
At many instances subordinate judicial officers and even High Courts sometimes are directing the investigating officer to effect the arrest of a particular individual suspect in the commission of a crime.
For this direction the judiciary may not have a requisite expertise.
This is a violation of the law of justice which is imbibed from England.
Anyone held up by law should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
What the issues in our criminal justice system:-
The Adversarial System lacks dynamism and It has not been entrusted with a positive duty to discover truth as in the Inquisitorial System. When the investigation is ineffective, Judges hardly take any initiative to remedy the situation.
There are 3.5 cr case pending in the system (the annual capacity of which is only half that number), and with another 10 million or more cases being added every year, system is bound to collapse completely unless some radical alternatives are adopted urgently.
With the increasing population India’s crime rate has been rising over the years. Between 2005 to 2015 there was 28% increase in complaints of cognisable offences from 450 per lakh population to 580.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau:-
More than 80% of crimes reported went unpunished due to several reasons and the loopholes in the present criminal justice system.
In India police-population ratios, of 131.1 officers per 1,00,000 population (against the UN norms of 222). Corruption is also an endemic problem.
Transparency International has found that 62% of people reported paying bribes during their interactions with the police.
Judges in the country are 18 per million population despite a Law Commission recommendation to increase it to 50, which itself is at the low end of the ratio in developed countries.
Multiplicity of Laws:
In Andhra Pradesh approval of cabinet to a bill which proposes death penalty in cases of sexual abuse of women and that seeks completion of the entire trial along with judgment within 21 days of filing of FIR is just another stringent rape laws that will undermine the authority of law.
After 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape amendments to criminal laws were pitched and further In 2013, POCSO and CrPc dealing with rape were made more stringent.
Criminal Justice is suffering from Inertia:-
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to protect the rights of the innocents and punish the guilty but On the contrary now-a-days system has become a tool of harassment of common people.
There is a huge Pendency of Cases and according to Economic Survey 2018-19, there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, especially in district and subordinate courts, which leads to actualisation of the maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
India has one of the world’s largest number of undertrial prisoners as published in the report by NCRB -Prison Statistics India (2015), 67.2% of our total prison population comprises under trial prisoners.
Police are a front line of the criminal judiciary system that has played a vital role in the administration of justice. Corruption, huge workload and accountability of police is a major setback in speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
Issues in legislations:-
Parliament passes a law and forgets about them.
They don’t care about the interpretation of the laws
Judiciary is not prioritizing the criminal cases
Executive is not active about filing FIRs and doing investigation
There are huge lack of infrastructure in the Indian judiciary system
There are a lot of vacancies in the lower judiciary which leds to further pendency in the cases.
There is a complete mismatch between the number of cases the court system has been asked to handle and the human resources (in the form of judges, para-legal personnel, infrastructure, etc.) given.
Normally criminal cases take 30-40 years to complete the trial.
People remain in jails for 10-12 years and then they are absolved of all the charges.
Lack of intention from executive, legislative and judiciary to create an effective and efficient system for the speedy delivery of justice of rape and aggravated sexual assaults.
Malimath committee recommendations and the way forward:-
Reasonable conditions should be prescribed to regulate and misuse of the power by the Police Officers .
The Investigation wing should be separated from the Law and Order wing.
National Security Commission and the State Security Commissions should be constituted as recommended by the National Police Commission and according to supreme court under Prakash Singh case.
Quality of investigation needs to be improved.
The impeachment of judges of high court and supreme court should be made easier compared to the present difficult process of impeachment under which it is very difficult to impeach the guilty judges.
The working days of the Supreme Court are raised to 206 days and High Courts be raised to 231 days.
Legislative proposals should be undertaken quickly which must amend domestic laws to conform to the provisions of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.
The Government and Judiciary both should invest in training there by quality of human resource.
We Need for more judges to dispose-off a large number of pending cases in the lower judiciary, for this national judicial service can also be a way forward.
Article 124 should be amended in order to make impeachment of judges and Constitution of a National Judicial Commission to deal with the appointment of judges to the higher courts
Creation of separate criminal division in supreme and high courts that have judges specialising in criminal laws.