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Reforming Criminal Judicial System

Suggest three effective measures to reform criminal judicial system in India. Based on experience, knowledge and ground realities, state how the steps suggested by you would prove effective indeed. In India justice delayed is justice denied does not provoke as much rage and outrage among people as does the acquittal of those in high-profile criminal cases. In recent years, the high and influential accused have so managed and manipulated to get themselves acquitted that the people at large have begun to lose faith in the entire criminal judicial system. The words of warning from various quarters that the judicial system in India is almost on the verge of collapse, should send the right message to the powers-that-be to take immediate and corrective steps to stem the rot that has set in the system, before it is too late to mend the matters. Rightly, the letter and spirit of the entire legal system stresses on the fact that no innocent person should be punished for the crime that he or she has not committed. It is equally imperative that no accused or criminal should go scot-free simply on the technical ground of benefit of doubt. Since the Indian judicial system, especially the criminal system, has come under a cloud, both for delay and denial of justice to the victim/aggrieved, it is the crying need of the hour to reform the system without delay and dithering. The following measures, if adopted with due deliberations and discussion, would go a long way in strengthening peoples faith in the system and also help delivering justice that people expect from the courts. The impression that crime has become a low-risk, high-profit business these days can be effectively countered if the trial courts start looking into the loads of circumstantial evidence, rather than entirely depending on witnesses who tend to turn hostile and buckle under the weight/threat of money and muscle power. Recommendations of Justice Malimath Committee that dealt with the problem of hostile witnesses should be incorporated in the Evidence Act and Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code. Another measure that can help set the distortions right is the separation of investigation agency from the law and order wing of the police. Since both need proper training in the modern techniques of crime detection and control, investigation and prosecution should be handled separately and the principle of accountability strictly followed. The Evidence Act needs to be amended in such a way that the onus of proving not guilty is shifted on the accused. It has been seen that wherever the onus of proof has been shifted on the accused, the results have been quite different. Separation of civil and criminal wings would not only cut delays in delivery of justice, but would also lead to greater specialisation and faster disposal.