Criminal Justice System Reforms
● A group of experts under the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressed serious concerns over theslow pace of reforms in the criminal justice system to ensure speedy justice.
● NHRC member Justice (retired) M.M. Kumar, who chaired the meeting, said that despite the Supreme Court’s directions on police reforms, there had been hardly any changes on the ground.
There is a need to shift the focus of the criminal justice system towards victim’s rights and smart policing. Elucidate
Consequences of slow criminal justice reforms
● Increase in pendency: According to estimates, there are nearly 4.4 crore cases pending in the Supreme Court, High Courts and district courts.
● Human rights violations of under-trials:Delay in the disposal of cases leads to under-trials spending more time in prison despite their guilt not being established. This is a grave violation of their human rights.
● Delays in implementation: Implementation of court’s orders convicting a person can take years which is a matter of concern for the justice system.
● Poor conviction rate: The conviction rate remains low due to lack of police and administrative reforms.
● Increasing the awareness of laws among policemen especially of lower hierarchy
● Training modules and programs especially for gender sensitization, human rights and child rights
● Increasing the number of police stations and police personnel in proportion to the number complaints in the area
● Including social workers and psychologists in the criminal justice system
● Digitization of documents to speed up investigations and trials
● Replacing certain offences under the Indian Penal Code with special laws and fast track courts to reduce cases piling up at police stations.
● Attaching an Impact Assessment Report when new laws are passed to depict estimated manpower, expenditure and infrastructure.
Criminal Justice reforms are the need of the hour. They must be brought about at the earliest to ensure a robust and responsive criminal justice system