of Criminal Justice System
IS WELL THAT ENDS WELL”
should not sit limply, while those who defy it go free and those who seek its
protection lose hope”.1
The Indian Constitutional and legislative safeguards to protect the rights of
victims of crime. The researcher tries to analyses these provisions in detail
and to interpret these provisions to know the applicability of such provisions
to protect the interest of victims of crime. The Constitution of India takes
utmost care and caution to protect and help victims of violation of human
rights. The ultimate goal of the
criminal justice system and the criminal law is to protect rights and personal
liberty of individuals and the society against its invasion by others. The
criminal law aspires to protect the weak against the strong, law abiding
against lawless and peace against violence. In respect to protection of rights
of the citizen, the state prescribes various rules of conduct, sanction for
their violation, machinery to enforce those sanctions and a code to protect the
machinery. Often it is the selfishness, greed and ill tolerance that leads to
depravation of the various rights of an individual.
For over some decades, there has been a growing
demand for amending the criminal justice system. Several amendments have been
made since independence in this regard. To the effect the entire Code of
Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) was amended in 1973 or in fact an entirely new
Criminal procedure code was adopted with the same. Yet, the inadequacy of the
system has been posing not only grave challenge to the legitimacy of the
system, but also affecting the social system adversely. The former president of
India Mr.R.Venkataraman once said that “The bane of Criminal justice system
were tardy investigation, absence of witness, delay, cumbersome procedure ,
lengthy judgments, paucity of criminal courts and large number of vacancies of
judges” and all these need to undergo a process involving a complete overhaul
When bad things happen in a complex system, the
cause is rarely a single act or a lone “bad apple.” More often, an
error- or “sentinel event”- actually signals a system-wide problem.
In criminal justice, a sentinel event could be a
wrongful conviction or even a “near-miss” that could have led to a
bad outcome if it had not been caught. In fact, other high-risk fields, such as
aviation and medicine, have seen significant improvements by using a
learning-from-error review process that puts all stakeholders at the table to
explore errors in a non-blaming, forward-looking way. The criminal justice
system is composed of three primary and discernible components: police,
courts, and prisons. The components of the criminal justice system are seen as
interrelated, interdependent, and striving to achieve a unified goal. This view
of criminal justice often focuses on how cases flow through the system, causing
ripple effects as cases move from one component to the next. The actions of
police officers on the streets, for example, affect the workload of courts, and
the decisions of judges in courtrooms affect the operation of jails and
Criminal Justice System in India:
The system of administration of criminal justice in
India today is the product of well-thought efforts on the part of successive
Governments. It places human rights and dignity for human life at a much higher
In our criminal jurisprudence, an accused is
presumed to be innocent till proven guilty, the burden of proof being on the
prosecution; he is entitled to a true investigation, and fair and open trial,
and the prosecution is enjoined to play a balanced role in the trial of an
offence. The standard of proof required is ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’.
Articles 20 and 22 of the Constitution of India, falling in the chapter on
fundamental rights, guarantee that no person shall be convicted of any offence
except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act
or omission charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than
that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the
commission of the offence ( the rule against ex post facto penal law);
no person shall be prosecuted and punished twice for the same offence (the rule
against double jeopardy); every accused enjoys the right against
self-incrimination; every person who is arrested is entitled to be informed, as
soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest as well as the right to consult
and be defended by a lawyer of his choice; every person who is arrested and
detained in custody is required to be produced before the nearest magistrate
within 24 hours, excluding journey time, and cannot be further detained without
the magisterial authority.
Writ of habeas corpus is a remedy available
under our Constitution of India to question the various detentions which
Article 21 of our Constitution guarantees protection
of life and personal liberty and enjoins that no person shall be deprived of
his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
Through judicial interpretation, this fundamental right has been elaborated and
expanded tremendously. The ‘procedure’ prescribed by law has to be ‘reasonable,
fair and just’. A right to early end of criminal proceedings through a speedy
trial is a part of right to life. Right against solitary confinement, right
against bar fetters, right against handcuffing, right against custodial
violence, right to human conditions in prisons and protective homes, and right
to legal aid are but some of the rights which have been held to flow from this
article. Avoidable arrests are frowned upon by courts. A person arrested cannot
be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape. Then,
there are well-meaning provisions concerning bail.
The Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal
Procedure 1973, along with parts of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, constitute
the essence of Indian criminal law. A large number of special and local laws
take care of various other antisocial activities. Members of the armed forces
face trial for offences by a Court Martial under special Acts owing to their
Stages of Criminal Trial in India:
The criminal procedure in India is governed by the Criminal Procedure Code;
1973.It divides the procedure to be followed for administration of criminal
justice into three stages namely-
is the process where evidences are to be collected by the police.
is the second step done by them. Inquiry is a judicial proceeding where
judge ensures for himself before going on trial, that there are reasonable
grounds to believe that the person is guilty.
is the judicial adjudication of a person’s guilt or innocence.
The steps in detail are as follows:
(i) Registration of F.I.R
under section 154 of the code which provides for the manner in which such
information is to be recorded.
of the informant as recorded under section 154 is said to be the First
Information Report. Its main object is to set the criminal law in motion.
means the information, by whomsoever given, to the officer in charge of a
police station in relation to the commission of a cognizable offence and
which is first in point of time and on the strength of which the
investigation into that offence is commenced.
evidentiary value: – It is not substantive evidence i.e. not the evidence
of the facts which it mentions. Its importance as conveying the earliest
information regarding the occurrence cannot be doubted. It can be used to
corroborate the informant under section 157 of the Indian Evidence Act,
1872, or to contradict him under section 145 of the act, if the informant
is called as a witness at the time of trial.
ii) Commencement of investigation:
includes all the efforts of a police officer for collection of evidence:
Proceeding to the spot; ascertaining facts and circumstances; discovery
and arrest of the suspected offender; collection of evidence relating to
the commission of offence, which may consist of the examination of various
persons including the accused and taking of their statements in writing
and the search of places or seizure of things considered necessary for
their investigation and to be produced at the trial; formation of opinion
as to whether on the basis of the material collected there is a case to
place the accused before a magistrate for trial and if so, taking the
necessary steps for the charge-sheet.
ends in a police report to the magistrate.
leads an investigating officer to reach a conclusion whether a
charge-sheet has to be filed or a closure report has to be filed.
iii) Framing of charges: If a person is not
discharged, trial begins by framing a charge (nothing but a specific accusation
against the accused) and reading and explaining it to him (so that he knows
what he is to force).
iv) Conviction on plea of guilty: After framing of
charges the judge proceeds to take the ‘plea of guilt’ which is an opportunity
to the accused to acknowledge that he pleads guilty and does not wish to
contest the case. Here the judge responsibility is onerous- a. to ensure that
the plea of guilt is free and voluntary, b. He has to ensure that if there had
been no plead of guilt- was the prosecution version if rebutted would have
led to conviction. If both the requirements are met then judge can record and
accept plea of guilt and convict the accused after listening to him on
v) Recording of the prosecution Evidence:
Examination of prosecution witness by the police prosecutor, marking of
exhibits and cross examination by defense counsel.
vi) Statement of the Accused: Section 313 of the
Criminal procedure empowers the court to ask for explanation from the accused
if any. The basic idea is to give an opportunity of being heard to an accused
and explain the facts and circumstances appearing in the evidence against him.
Under this section, an accused shall not be administered an oath and the
accused may refuse to answer the questions so asked. The answers given by the
accused may be taken into consideration in such inquiry or trial, and put in
evidence for or against him.
vii) Evidence of Defense: In cases of accused not
being acquitted by the court, the defense is given an opportunity to present
any defense evidence in support of the accused. The defense can also produce
its witnesses and the said witnesses are cross- examined by the prosecution.
However, in India the defense does not provide defense evidence as the criminal
justice system puts burden of proof on the prosecution to prove that a person
is guilty of an offence beyond the reasonable doubt.
viii) Final arguments on both the sides: once the
public prosecutor and the defense counsel present their arguments, the court
generally reserve its judgment.
ix) Judgment: Judgment is the final reasoned
decision of the court as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. After
application of judicial mind, the judge delivers a final judgments holding an
accused guilty of an offence or acquitting him of the particular offence. If a
person is acquitted, the prosecution is given time to file an appeal and if a
person is convicted of a particular offence, then date is fixed for arguments
on sentence. Once a person is convicted of an offence, both the sides present
their arguments on what punishment should be awarded to an accused. This is
done in cases which are punished with death or life imprisonment. After the
arguments on sentence, the court finally decides what should be the punishment
for the accused. While punishing a person, the courts consider various theories
of punishment for the accused. While punishing a person, the courts consider
various theories of punishment like deterrent theory of punishment and
reformative theory of punishment. Court considers the age, background and
history of an accused and the judgment is pronounced accordingly
of the Criminal Justice System
The object of the criminal justice system is to
render public justice, to punish the criminal and to see that the trial is
concluded expeditiously before the memory of the witness fades out. Reformation
of Criminal justice system doesn’t only means to reform the justice system but
the whole method. Right from the police to the speedy trial needs to be
reformed. The main components of the reformation of the criminal justice system
of speedy Trial
These are the main contents which need to be
reformed and courts should always try to maintain the public faith in ensuring
the concept of the Human Rights in administration of Justice.
of the Reformation of Criminal Justice System are follows:-
Police: The police are taking steps to meet the
challenges they face to ensure they continue to maintain and improve public
trust and confidence. Police hold a special place in the criminal justice
system. Not only do the activities of law enforcement officers affect the
operations of the entire criminal justice system, but police are said to be the
“gate keepers” of the system. They are usually the first to make contact with
accused offenders and are in a position to make some very important decisions
about what will happen to those individuals. Police officers are specially
trained in many aspects of criminal justice and law in general. The duties
provided by law enforcement personnel include traffic citations, criminal
investigations and emergency response as well as crime prevention. Law
enforcement is there to enforce all laws set in place by the government,
whether on the local or federal level.
Undoubtedly, the condition of modern prisons is better than that in the past
but still much remains to be done in the direction of prison reforms for humane
treatment of prisoners. The treatment of prisoners should be in accordance with
the constitutional mandates to secure them the basic rights. Many jails in this
country continue to be the same.
The Code of Criminal Procedure is the main
procedural law to protect the rights of victims of crime. The existing criminal
rehabilitation of offenders through correctional system and a solace to victims
of crimes. The existing criminal justice system is affected with various
maladies and faults viz. the legal process is time consuming and it is accused
oriented system i.e., system is more concerned with the rights and interests of
the accused rather than those of the victims, there is lack of coordination between
Police and prosecution, overcrowding in jails, expensive legal process, no
protection to witnesses and fault}” investigation etc.
Reformation in judiciary lies in reconstruction of
judicial structure and reformation of laws by deleting the outdated laws and
introducing new legal provisions, as required according to need of the present
date. The vexed question of reformation in judiciary has become now a global
problem. The problems of jural reforms are also not less attractive than structural
reforms. Reformation in Judges and Reformation in Laws. Less said better about
the situation, there is hardly any provision for proper training and
supervision of judicial officials. Now some Academic trainings Institutes have
been opened and the training is given to the judicial officer. The system may
be appreciated if it is made meaningful. The inspecting judges must devote
sufficient time to examine the various records of the courts and to hear the
officers and the lawyers with a view to bring uniformity in working of the
officers and even to introduce certain changes in the rules of working if it is
felt necessary. It is also very important that our society is facing crisis of
law also. Many of the laws have become outdated and do not conform to the needs
of the society. The judges have to impart justice according to the law.3
present criminal justice system has failed to deliver speedy and prompt justice
to people and ensuring certainty of punishment to perpetrators of crime. Criminal
cases are pending in courts from several years and in some cases more than 15
years or more and number of under trial prisoners languishing in jails is
increasing day by day. The different sub-systems of criminal justice system,
viz., the police, prosecution, judiciary and correctional institutions have not
been able to meet their goals and people have lost faith in existing Criminal
Justice System. As law is the subject which is not known by all the general
people but the lawyers, the judges and the people specialized in such subject ,
so it become very difficult for the general people to understand the law and
they rely upon their advocates. It is not only the judges who are to be blamed
for the slow process but it is the entire system which is to be blamed for the
same. As the number of judges when compared to the other states is less and in
country like India which is over populated should have better system to provide
justice. In order to reform it the need of speedy trial is very important. The
reformation of the criminal justice system is not at all possible without the
speedy trial process and provides justice among the people.
WAS HEADED BY Justice V.S.Malimath, former Chief Justice of Karnataka and
Kerala High Court.
by the Home Ministry in 2000 and the report was submitted to Deputy Prime
Minister L.K.Advani who was the in charge of Home Portfolio in 2003.
The committee worked on the fundamentals principles
of criminal law, so they can restore the faith and confidence in the criminal
justice system. And this also involves the reviewing of Code of Criminal
Procedure Code,1973, the Evidence Act,1872 and the Indian Penal Code,1860.4
were 158 recommendations of the committee, arrived for examining several
national systems of criminal law, especially the continental European
shifted from a adversarial criminal justice system where the facts were
represented by the prosecution and defence before a judge, to an
has advised many of the pre-trial safeguards against violence in police
custody that an accused has;
day period available for filing a charge sheet after which an accused can
be released on bail.
also permits 15 days police remand of an accused be doubled for grave
committee also recommends to set up a State Security Commission, as
recommended by the NPC, to insulate the police from political pressure and
allow to work freely.
report clearly states that wherever the death penalty is needed it should
be replaced with life imprisonment without commutation and remission. The
Committee does not favor the death penalty for rapists.
reports increased burden on the court.
trials, fast-track courts, the huge undertrial population, and access to
courts have been neglected.
against members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes do not
find mention in the report.
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the
inner workings of the criminal justice system during the Enlightenment. Also,
it is important to discuss the heinous nature of this system, what crimes were
punished, to what extent they were punished, and a brief overview of the
reasons for which the penal system was in existing condition. The first part of
this paper will discuss the nature of the penal system, as it existed during
the Enlightenment. In order to do this, it is necessary to take into account
the observations of many prominent philosophers of the time including
Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Beccaria and his colleagues at the Academy of
Fisticuffs. The second part of this paper will examine the philosophy of Cesare
Beccaria, his account of human nature, the purposes behind the formation of the
state, and his theory of punishment. The third part of the paper will cover
Beccaria’s critique of the existing penal system, and his suggestions for
Therefore in lieu of all the aforesaid as well as
other facts and circumstances it is evident that the Criminal Justice System is
to be studied by its ground realities and it is high time to come up with best
possible reformations in coherence to its ground realities that could benefit
the public at large and of course it should be protected enough so that it
shouldn’t get away as per the wishes and desires of those who are moving in red
beacon vehicles or have a Swiss bank account. Further simplifying judicial
procedures and coherence among the judiciary and the Prosecution and Police,
making the system simpler, faster, cheaper and user-friendly, and restoring the
confidence of the common man should be the priority while considering the
reformation of the Criminal Justice system of India.
v. Baker (1972) 1 All ER 997).
2 Jury in the case
of Jennison v. Baker (1972) 1 All ER 997 http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/criminal_justice_system.pdf;
Reformation in Judiciary by Y.P.Bhagat.
Malimath’s committee report pdf