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Pro people policing and justice delivery system in India – An Enquiry

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The Inordinate delays in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases involving serious offences and in the trial of such cases in the Courts is a blot on the justice system. The objective of penal law and the societal interest in setting the criminal law in motion against the offenders with reasonable expedition is thereby frustrated. The adverse effect of delay on society at large is immeasurable. The fear of law and the faith in the criminal justice system is eroded irretrievably. People get frustrated in the system if at every stage there is delay and the process of justice is not allowed to take its normal course, more so, when deliberate attempts are made to subvert and delay the process.

The general scenario of criminal justice in the country with special reference to the cases pending in the District and Subordinate (D&S) courts:

The total number of criminal cases pending before D&S Courts is about 1.90 crore (190 lakh) cases, about 82¼ lakhs civil cases are pending. That means, the number of criminal cases is about 2 ½ times more than civil cases. The largest numbers are from the States of UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha. In 12 States, out of which there are eight major States, where the disposals are less than the institutions to dispose the cases.

There is a perception in the masses that there is apathy and inaction on the part of the police in registering the FIR’s and taking up the investigation in right earnest for various reasons. The Police are either hesitant to proceed with the investigation against influential persons or they are under pressure not to act swiftly especially if the person accused is in power. They adopt a pusillanimous attitude when the accused are such persons.

Corruption at Police Station level affects timely and qualitative investigation of cases. Further, the Police Stations are understaffed and the police personnel lack motivation to act without fear or favour.

There are no periodical exercises to upgrade the skills of investigation. The diversion of personnel from the Police Stations for various relatively unimportant duties such as ‘Bandobust’ is a very common phenomenon. In most of the States, the existing police force attached to police stations is utterly inadequate and even the sanctioned strength always remains less than required. Sanctions for prosecution are unduly delayed by the Governments.

The reasons for the oppressive behaviour of police can be traced from colonialism. The Indian police was originally conceived of as a force to strengthen the system of collection of revenue by East India company. The Indian police Act 1861 was enacted with the objective of safeguarding the interest of the Britishers and to protect the British citizen in India. That very custom is still being carried, along with the same mindset. Therefore mutual trust between police and public appears to be highly improbable.

Recent efforts for pro-people policing

Several efforts are being to reform the policing and criminal justice system. In the year 1977, National police commission was formed with an objective to make reforms in policing and minimize the corrupt practices in the police. subsequently other committees were formed and several other institutions were given the task to examine the issue of police reforms .

    • National human rights commission
    • Law commission of India
    • Ribeiro committee
    • Padmanabhaiah committee
    • Malimath committee on reforms of criminal justice system 2003
    • Sorabjee committee 2005

These committees came forward with several suggestions and guidelines to the State (Government). There are few directions that was provided by almost all the committees which are as mentioned below.

  • There should be state security commission at state level.
  • A transparent procedure for the appointment of police chief and providing him a minimum fixed tenure.
  • There is a need to separate the work of investigation from maintenance of law and order.
  • There is an immediate need of a new police Act.

Recent efforts

Recently the honorable supreme court of India issued a historic Judgment on the issue of police reforms. The SC ordered state governments to take these steps:

  • Formation of state security commissions.
  • Making a transparent selection procedure and assuring a minimum tenure of the DGP’s of states.
  • Assuring a minimum tenure of IG’s of zones and ranges and all officers down to the rank of SP of a district, a circle officer of the subdivision and an SHO
  • Separating investigation from the routine law-and-order mechanism
  • Forming a police establishment board

Conclusion and suggestions

For reformation in criminal justice system and making the policing process more people friendly.
Our judicial system and policing process could not develop with the changing pace of time. The state’s social structure, economy etc receive transformation with the rapid development in science and Technology and due to globalisation. As a consequence new types of issues, new expectations arose, but the courts still apply the traditional methods of trial and judgment delivery. Therefore there is an urgent need of reformation in the system so that it can keep pace with changing times.

  • First of all the courts must have case management mechanism through which the court will become able to make prioritization of cases. Cases related to old, women victim, minor should have a priority over the cases related to others.
  • There are various stages in a trial, there should be a time-structure providing a time frame to each stage of trial.
  • Plea-bargaining, as a means to resolve dispute should be promoted to a great extent.
  • Online(Digital platforms) procedure should be promoted. Pleading online, defects to be presented by registry online, electronic payment of court fee, summoning through e-mail and online judgment are some key areas which can be digital and it will revolutionize the way our legal system works.
  • The Judges should be trained in writing judgments, they must admit that apart from making interpretation of statutory law they are resolving dispute between the parties. There judgment must be concise, clear and coherent. That will improve the public accessibility to law.

Md Minhaj Uddin


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