Miscarriage of Justice
● The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on a plea for framing guidelines for compensation given tovictims of wrongful prosecution.
● The cause for action according to both the petitions was after a division bench of the Allahabad High Court declared Vishnu Tiwari innocent after he spent nearly 20 years in jail after being booked forrape and atrocities under SC/ST Act due to land dispute. Probable Question
Analyse factors that lead to wrongful prosecution in India and suggest the way forward.
Reasons for existence:
● Misuse of the legal system: Legal system has been misused to settle scores between individuals leading to false cases being filed.
● The gap in the legal system: India has no effective statutory provisions or legal mechanisms for wrongful prosecution due to police or authorities. This leads to victims being unable to seek redressal.
Impacts of wrongful prosecution:
● Violates Fundamental rights: Wrongful prosecution infringes upon Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution as it causes immense injury to victims and their family members preventing them from leading a life of liberty and dignity.
● Increase in pendency: “A pandemic of false cases” which has impacted the justice system which has more than 40 million cases pending. Reduction in the number of false cases can help reduce pendency in courts.
The Law Commission of India in its 277th report released in 2018 had provided recommendations on Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal remedies
● Amend laws: The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 should be amended to compensation in cases of miscarriage of justice resulting in wrongful prosecution of persons.
● Special Courts: Special Courts should be set up in each district for speedy disposal of cases involving compensation due to wrongful prosecution.
● Compensation: The compensation should be of two types- pecuniary (monetary assistance) and non-pecuniary(assistance like counselling, skill development). The compensation amount must be guided by principles such as the seriousness of the offence, the severity of punishment, length of detention, damage to health, harm to reputation, and loss of opportunities.
Wrongful prosecution is a grave miscarriage of justice. It is essential that the government should implement the recommendations of the Law Commission in letter and spirit to ensure that justice is done.