The status of “justice” in India is no longer confined to mere phrase in the preamble of Indian constitution. Rather it had attained the dignity of “supreme ideal” in the Democracy. Not apparent, the administration of justice has main two facets i.e., administration of civil justice and administration of criminal justice.
This article is an attempt to capture and depict the true essence of administrating criminal justice. Initially the term “criminal justice” and “administration of criminal justice” has been explained in the article. Later on, this has an inclusion of the major agencies involved in the administration of criminal justice. Further it seeks to clarify the process of administration of criminal justice. This throws a limelight on the challenges faced by the agents in administration of criminal justice. It is concluded by recommendation of certain reforms with a view to up bring efficiency in the administration of justice.
In a democracy like India whose population is projected near 142.86 crore people. The most shameful fact is : “that almost every citizen of the country is well aware and familiar with one term i.e. CRIME”. Crime refers to :
- somethings illegal,
- something which is prohibited,
- something which is forbidden by law,
- something which is dangerous to law and order,
- something which is harmful for the society,
- something for which punishment is inflicted and
- something for doing of which some people are labelled as criminals; a threat to society.
On reading the term crime, flashbacks of rapes, thefts, murders, kidnapping, burglary, homicide, assaults roll back in our mind. Why not, when the national capital of India i.e. Delhi itself reports highest rate of crime . It gained the title of “crime capital” of India. Therefore, the criminal laws are evolved in the country to control crimes. Also to reduce crimes, to impose penalties over wrongdoers to provide relief to the victims.
In short, the main vision behind evolution of criminal law is the security/protection of the society from law breakers. For this purpose there is inclusion of punishments in criminal law. Criminal laws are further diversified in substantive and procedural laws.
MEANING OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: –
Before the in-depth study of administration of criminal justice, we all must first know what the term “Criminal justice system” actually means?
As per the literal meaning “criminal justice system” is the system of law enforcement that involves police, advocates, courts for all stage of criminal proceedings and punishments. In the simple terms, criminal justice system is a set of some legal institutions that strives for the enforcement of criminal laws.
It is an only by the virtue of criminal justice system that the “Crimes” and the “Criminal” are identified. After completion of certain prescribed proceedings finally punishment is awarded to the wrongdoers / law breakers.
The evolution of criminal justice system has paved a way to serve the victims, witnesses and society better. Not only victims, criminal justice system of India also believes in the rehabilitation and reformation of criminals. The ideologies of criminal justice also aim at providing a second chance to the criminal too.
MEANING OF ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: –
We can simply understand the term “Administration of criminal justice” by its simple breakdown. Administration of justice in criminal cases. It means that administration of criminal justice is basically an urge of justice for those against whom crime has been committed. In modern time criminal justice administration includes various aspects of criminal justice system such as law enforcement agencies, courts etc.
Earlier the fore runners of administrators of criminal justice were inculcated with the rule of “A Tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, a life for a life”. As time lapsed and society adapted advancement, the mindset of law farmers also changed. The law makers starting looking for more logical rules to administer criminal justice. Further the offences got classified from ordinary to grave offences. The amount of punishment inflicted to get amended. Not only the mindset of the law makers but the attitude of victims also got revolutionised. From revenge to adopt, adjust and resortment to other options.
Basically, the main / chief objective behind fair administration of justice is to “Bandage the wounds of victims”. Now a days, “Administration of criminal justice is no longer confined to finding out the neutral way between right or wrong. Rather it’s the way of identifying the right and upholding it against the wrong”. The criminal justice administrators in India have a strong belief that just like “violators cannot live with justice, survivors cannot live without justice”. Therefore, administration of criminal justice is mainly delivery of justice to the victims and the innocents.
The two main laws that deals with the criminal justice in India are Code of criminal procedure (CRPC) and Indian penal code (IPC). While both these laws are related to crimes there is a basic dissimilarity of CRPC being procedural law and IPC being substantive law. Despite of being age old, both of these laws still embodies the basic principle of natural justice . Like principle against double jeopardy (also specified in Article 20 of the Indian Constitution), presumption of innocence, fair trial and many more.
AGENCIES INVOLVED: –
This part of the article contains a detailed description regarding different agencies that play a vital role in the administration of criminal justice. Basically, there are three agencies involved in the process of rendering criminal justice and those are legislature, executive and judiciary.
Legislature involves that organ of government which have a power to make and amend laws i.e., parliament. The parliament of India is empowered by the Indian constitution to frame laws, bylaws, rules and regulations for the welfare of the state.
The major ideal considered by parliament while enactment of any laws is the protection of human rights of the citizens of the country. Therefore, enacted laws are classified into twofold dimensions; –
- ENACTMENT OF LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION OF INHERENT CONSTITUTIONAL PROSPECTIVE: –
While the enactment of any new law or the amendment in any existing law the parliament has to keep in mind the basic principles of equality, security and justice. These are enshrined in the Indian constitution which is given the status of supreme law of the land.
- ENACTMENT OF GENERAL AND SPECIAL LAW MEASURES: –
The general enactments of the parliament often have a base on speedy disposal consideration, fair trials to accused, focus on the reformative theme and principles of natural justice.
Therefore, the criminal justice system of India is not only limited to mere safeguards rather it confers sets of rights to satisfy the zeal of re-socialization of offenders/accused criminals.
Judiciary as an esteem institution of the democracy basically involves the courts working at various levels i.e., district, state and national level for providing justice to the victims of crime. Although the basic streamline of criminal justice administration is provided by the legislature through the enactment of laws, judiciary also especially at the appellate level has considerably contributed in the path of seeking justice through wise interpretation of the statutes. The focus of the judiciary is also equivalent on the protection of human rights.
Judiciary through reforms/changes at various level showed a zeal to fairly administer criminal justice. As the 3rd degree and tortures by police over accused became evident from a large number of custodial deaths, the judiciary directs its interpretation towards ensuring humane conditions of investigation. The judiciary regards the aforementioned matter serious as “an officer who is supposed to protect the citizens is itself becoming a danger to the citizens. Not only this but fabrication of false evidences is also restricted and minimize by the initialization of inquiries and investigation orders by the courts.
Executive generally signify that branch which works at ground level for the maintenance of peace, law and order. This implies the police officers working as the implementers of the laws framed by the legislature and the orders pronounced by the judiciary. Despite of the fact of involvement of many institution in the administration of criminal justice, the executive still remains successful in grabbing the center in administration. The chief reasons behind the following are: –
Firstly, it’s the protector of law and order in the country, and secondly its also the finder of truth in all criminal case by virtue of investigation.
This institution is often esteemed as an institution working for the protection of life and liberties of the people of the country. As compared to other institutions this one seems to have contributed the most for the public welfare i.e., welfare of the state.
ONGOING CHALLENGES : –
This part of the research paper discusses in detail the challenges faced by agents i.e., legislatures, executive and judiciary while administration of criminal justice.
CHALLENGES RELATED TO LEGISLATION: –
The parliament in a positive way is entrusted the power to rule over the country indirectly through laws. However, when this power comes to the limit of being misused by the parliament the result will inherits some arbitrary powers in the hands of conquered one. Oppression on the innocents will become common and ultimately every law would be directed to a political propaganda. The mixture of powers with politics would have devasting effect in the country and the object of becoming a welfare stage automatically vanishes. In other words, we can also say that power will help power and the needy would never get justice.
CHALLENGES RELATED TO ADJUDICATION: –
On one hand, where India is adding feathers to its golden cap through successful landing of Chandryan-3, there are still millions in the country who remain shattered in their turn to look at our judicial system for the protection of their rights. Constitution that has assumed the position of supreme law in the country guarantees equal right to every citizen of India and the system of courts through which such laws are enforced and such rights are secured is known as the judicial system of our country.
In this section the reasons that are terribly shaking the belief of a common man in Indian judiciary are elaborated. This article explains the most well-known fact of Indian judicial system being cumbersome, time consuming and costly. Despite those reasons this section also contains an elucidation of certain other factors responsible for bringing disrepute to our judiciary.
Such as pendency of cases which involve an astonishing figure of over 4.5 crore cases pending in India which will need years from now to get all resolved if no new cases are being filed, delay in proving justice which can be truly depicted by the virtue of “Nirbhaya Rape Case” and also we have seen that even after having handful of evidences against Kasab he live for 10 years in India as a guest of Indian government, biased nature of judiciary and so on.
However, judiciary is also entitled for praise for announcing certain bold and historic judgments like Sabrimala temple case, triple talak, decriminalization of section 377, decriminalization of adultery and many more. Yet there is a space and alarming need to reinforce the faith of common people in judiciary. People in India are still sustaining a never-ending hope that one day judiciary would again restore its position of a friend who will help people to get through their struggles, who will cherish their fundamental rights and who will guide them about right or wrong.
CHALLENGES RELATED TO ENFORCEMENT: –
Despite of being esteem for protection of human right this department is more defamed for violation of human rights. Custodial deaths implying the demise of an under- trail custodian is a live example proving the inefficiency of executive. As per the reports of Asian Centre for human rights (ACHR) the total no. of custodial deaths has been increased to a number of 1674 which is normally regarded as about five custodial deaths per day. More over the cases of false encounters have resulted in the deformation of the bond of trust over the executive.
PROCESS OF ADMINISTERING CRIMINAL JUSTICE: –
Criminal justice cannot be rendered once at all rather it is a process that involves a series of steps. The process of administrating criminal justice starts with: –
- Investigation: –
Investigation is done by a police officer. The major purpose behind investigation is the collection of evidences. This may involve search of person or property. This is the first step in the process of rendering justice in criminal cases.
- Arrest: –
The second step followed in criminal cases would be arrest. It refers to taking of persons into custody. This is the legal requirement of every criminal case.
- Prosecution: –
This means prosecution of defendant by district attorney. Here the prosecutor decides whether to charge the person with crimes keeping in view the gravity of the cases.
- Indictment: –
It means filing of an information by a prosecutor. As per the rules of the procedure, an indictment is mandatory while prosecuting for a capital offence. This becomes the basis of decision whether to warrant a trial or not.
- Arraignment: –
Here the defendant appears in the court for plea which is commonly of guilty or not guilty.
- Pre-trial detention or bail: –
Here either the court will resort to pre-trial detention i.e., custody for temporary period or to bail i.e., to release the accused after furnishing the bail bond.
- Trial: –
It is held before a judge. Here it is finally decided whether the accused is convicted or acquitted.
- Sentencing: –
It is always by a judge. If the accused found guilty of a crime he is sentence by the judge and sent in correctional institution called as prison.
This is how justice is actually delivered to the victims.
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: –
We all live in a democratic country like India which generally runs on laws, it means which is generally managed and controlled/administered with the help of laws. We all are somehow directly or indirectly related to the term law, but how many of us had actually searched the no. of laws prevalent in our country at the present time. Let me make it simple for you.
There are above 1,248 laws existing in India at the present time. The major thing that sounds tensed in the statistics is the fact of the phrase that “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the people”. Therefore, just making of laws, passing of laws from both the houses of parliament, getting the sanction of president over the bills passed, cracking the shield of judicial review of judiciary is not enough for providing justice to the individuals.
In other words, what we are saying is mere enactment of laws would only add reports and dust on the governmental shelf, it is their implementation at the ground level which makes the administration of justice somewhere positive.
- Many times, it is submitted in the survey reports that the number of courts should be increased for the fast disposal of criminal cases.
- How often the stress has been laid upon the need of morally persuasion among officers especially to those involved in the executive agencies, to avoid, prevent and minimize corruption extent.
- Moreover, it must also necessary that the leaders should directs its main focus towards social welfare and every possible attempt should be made to keep politics and laws segregated.
Like every coin have two faces, similarly the system of criminal justice administration also has two, some praiseworthy provisions with certain devastating lacuna. But we should still be proud to be a citizen of that democratic country where even today in the era of changing ideologies the base of Indian criminal justice system remains the same that “we can leave 1000 criminals free, but one innocent should not be sentenced”.
Like nothing is permanent, the provisions of criminal justice are also showing the emergence of change as the major object of criminal laws are somewhere seen unsettled as there is always a sense of chaos in the society in one way or another. Moreover, the people demanding amendments and change under criminal laws administration must also understands that “change cannot be brought overnight, it is a gradual process that takes time”. However, the agents involved in administrating criminal justice are working actively for making the system affordable, in short duration and fair too.