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20/08/2018 
FAILURE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
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Increasing Crime Inspite of Public outrage against it, signals the failure of Criminal Justice system. Low rate of conviction in comparison to United States of America, Britain, France and other developed countries is also seen as a reason for increasing crime rate. Till date Inspite of the media regularly highlighting the increasing crime rate specially, crime against women there is no research conducted by the Govt. (both state & central Govt.) to ascertain the causes resulting into increase in crime. There is as on today no data to indicate as to whether growth of crime rate is on account of mild sentences, or simply on account of low conviction rate, still the Governments have increased the sentences for certain sentences for like rape, enacted special laws relating to sexual offences against children. Special Procedures to deal with organized crime etc. The increase in the number of crimes can also be attributed to, factors like increase in population, decrease in physical space between people, migration from villages to cities & towns and coming up of slums, poverty, unemployment, increasing gap between population Judge ratio resulting into long delays, collapse of social interaction, disregard of social responsibility etc.

The problem of absconding accused:-

Till we know the cause we cannot control the effect.  Increasing the sentences, reluctance of the judges to release an accused on bail may become counterproductive. These  two factors together have led to the problem of accused persons absconding and continuing with  their crimes. Moving from one city to another, absconding accused who has committed violent crimes acts as a “ Sovereign in a limited sense”. His extortion calls are rarely refused and complained. His family lives in abundance and with pride. These absconding accused are used by the crime lords in jail to execute there threats of extortion, to eliminate their rivals in crime and to generally continue with their business of crime including Supari killing. The crime lords are able to carry out their profession from the safety of a well guarded prison. Thus refusal to grant bail to a crime lord is counter productive.

         This, as a matter of judicial policy creates more problems of law and order than it solves. Law, specially procedural law is not a matter of convenience and its servants are bound to follow it, the concept of rule of law dictates this. The Courts cannot ignore the same on account of inconvenience like people are reluctant to become witnesses of search and seizure. If today people are reluctant to become witnesses it is because the police and the courts both have failed them. If there is a complaint by any person of the public the police is reluctant to act on the complaint. Finding no protection from the police respectable people do not co-operate with the police.

         In other words it is lack of trust between the public and the police, a very unfortunate situation. All courts, from Supreme Court to the trial court have accepted this situation. The Supreme Court in a series of Judgments has held that these days members of the public do not come forward to witness recoveries of incriminating articles therefore the police are left with no option but to get the recoveries witnessed by police officers. Thus section 100, 102 and 165 Cr.pc. Have become redundant. These provisions of Cr.P.C.  provide safeguard against false implication by dis-honestly planting of incriminating articles on the accused. These procedural safeguards are not mere procedure but create a substantive right and are protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. Violation of these safeguards amount to violation of a guaranteed fundamental right and therefore as per Article 13 of the Constitution the evidence procured in violation of procedural safeguard is void and cannot be considered at the trial.

        Relaxing the procedure established by law creates an aura of unfairness around the criminal justice system. No person would like to surrender to the legal system if he can afford to abscond and survive. 

The social factor:-

Control of crime and social responsibility of a citizen apart from social factors depends largely on the image of the police, which further depends on  discipline in the force and degree of control of the higher officers on their subordinates. The effectiveness and discipline of a force becomes apparent from the turnout of its personnel. Uniform,  neat, clean and well ironed, all brass items in the dress properly polished, cap on the head, posture firm head held up high with pride has an immediate effect on the people. Such turnout of police personal creates a feeling of trust and security among the people and induces fear among the criminal elements.

Corruption

The second aspect is of corruption and political interference. As far as corruption is concerned salaries are calculated on the basis of money required to run the house hold, there is no component to ensure his integrity. The basic logic of corruption among Govt. Officers is the ratio between their expenses and salaries. Extent of power is much beyond the salaries. Salary of the officers is x and their expenditure is x+A, now the officer is not bothered form where and at what cost he gets this “A” and the result is corruption and consequent inefficiency. The Higher is the officer the greater the power and more extensive the damage he can cause by his corruption to the system and the people. 

        The police as an institution has been clamoring for more independence and more power. In the first instance the police as a force was seeking independence from civil control. Initially the district police force was under the control of the District Magistrate. It was the District Magistrate who used to assess and write the confidential report of the superintendent of Police. Thus the control was effective and there was a different authority before whom complaint relating to the functioning of the police could be made. This system of check and balance was done away  in the 80’s or 90’s. The rate of crime and also the incidents of custodial death has increased. Now the police as an institution wants powers to record confessions of accused persons and also to prove the statement of witnesses with the extent and level of corruption prevailing in the country this power will be abused more than used.

        It will be seen that the causes of increasing crime rate are many. Some can be handled by reducing the extent of corruption while others can be prevented by enforcing discipline in the police force and reconsidering the policy of release of an accused on bail. The social causes like population explosion and migration can be dealt with only by a long term policy of spreading economic development on a state and village level.

MR. TRIPURARI RAY (ADVOCATE), SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Email:- tripurariray83@gmail.com





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