IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 7th Oct 2020
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.– Michelangelo
EDITORIAL HUNT #176 :“Transformation of Criminal Justice System | UPSC“
Transformation of Criminal Justice System | UPSC
Abhinav Sekhri is a lawyer practising in New Delhi
The disintegration of the criminal justice system
A problem-solving system handled by the executive is taking shape; establishing truth through trials has ceased to exist
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Judiciary
How to fill in the gaps between criminal justice system and the executive to maintain law and order . Discuss -(GS 2)
- Penal Code
- Crime Vs Punishment
- Executive Judiciary Disconnect
- PENAL CODE : It is a well-established textbook on the principles of criminal law in the United Kingdom painstakingly establishes various theoretical bases for justifying what should be a crime
- POLITICAL NEXUS : The nexus undoes this edifice in a single section by telling us that at the end of the day, criminal law and crimes are whatever the state says it is.
- DEMOCRATIC MACHINERY : A majority government makes the laws and controls the investigative machinery, It define what a crime is but it can also selectively pursue only those crimes which it cares about and forget about the rest.
IN DISARRAY ACROSS INDIA
- CRIME AND PUNISHMENT : Ultimately, the idea of “crime” is hollow without the accompanying punishment.
- BEHIND THE BARS : The loss of liberty upon imprisonment we are all taught to dread.
- CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM : There is a synergy between the crime, its pursuit by an investigation, and the calling to account of those found guilty, which is colloquially referred to as a criminal justice system.
- NO TRIALS : There was no waiting for a trial to condemn the accused and sentence him; punishment was swiftly meted out by the police itself.
- ENCOUNTER STORIES : Erstwhile Supreme Court Judge felt that the State’s version of events made it appear as if it did not even care whether the encounter story was believed or not.
- GROWING DISCONNECT : The growing disconnect between the government and judiciary in matters of criminal justice.
- EXECUTIVE-MINDEDNESS : The bolstering of executive power as a result of this growing disconnect, and third, the unsurprising imitation of executive-mindedness by the judiciary.
- EFFICACY OF COURTS : What this means is that as police forces keep adding to the docket every year, the courts are becoming ever slower in their ability to conduct trials and pass judgments.
- NATURAL TIME-GAP : The time-gap between the incident and any potential punishment ; reduces the importance of courts in the criminal justice system.
- RIGHT TO FREE TRIAL : This disconnect also reduces whatever value condemnation through trial might have had, as people move on and so does life in almost all cases.
- IDEALS OF PUNISHMENT : By slowly legitimising the idea of punishments without condemnation or any kind of being called into account, the ideal of punishment gets diluted .
- EXECUTIVE GAINS : This system where judges lose sway is where the executive gains more power.
- CRITICAL MOMENT : It is the arrest, and not a conviction, which becomes the seminal moment in the criminal process.
- TRUST FACTOR : Victims do not even think as far as proving anything in court, at times, and all that matters is arrest and an indefinite incarceration, or even an encounter if the allegation is heinous enough.
PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE
- HAPPY COURTYARDS : The transformation stands complete, when judges try to regain some of their lost footing by trying to imitate the now popular branch.
- ACCESS TO JUSTICE : The presumption of innocence be damned(completed), so long as the problem is solved and a victim can go home satisfied.
- SYSTEMATIC DISINTEGRATION : Pandemic has caused systematic disintegration of any criminal justice system worth its name across India.
- PRESERVING VALUES : This becomes most critical and values such as the presumption of innocence and establishing truth through trials have long ceased to exist.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Transformation of Criminal Justice System | UPSC