Criminal Justice Reforms-Need of the Hour

A study on Probable Reforms concerning Criminal Justice System
One of the important aspects of the Criminal Justice system is to defend the rule of law, using social control, by maintaining order, providing speedy trial, and rehablitation of offenders through the Judicial System. One of the issues that is been pertaining for a long period is that there is been a lot of loopholes in the criminal justice system where the offenders are affected
by these even without committing any mistakes, another aspect is that the procedure in the criminal justice system is time taking and even the innocents had to face unnecessary charges, so in this article lets look into the aspect probable reforms that could be brought up concerning the criminal justice system. Loopholes that are existing in the Criminal Justice System Usually, individuals would be in awe when they came to know that they will get the relief from the functioning of the Criminal Justice System, but then they seem to lose the hope as the same becomes a cumbersome process, pending cases, lack of coordination, less awareness
among the individuals and corruption are challenges one could think of that is been there in the Criminal justice system.

A judiciary that recognizes the rule of law as a basic framework, must abandon the culture of secrecy that surrounds its process. The pendency of litigation is another key issue within the Indian legal system. A common expression says that “equity deferred is denied equity” and according to a 2017 survey, there are currently, nearly 60,000 cases pending within the
Supreme Court. Across separate jurisdictions, there are between 25 and 30 million cases. The role of judges in the 24 High Courts of the nation has nearly 400 vacancies. In the Supreme Court, there are several pending appeals, and the legal system has been invalidated by the other lower courts. To no small amount, burdensome procedural regulation frequently leads to the delay in the resolution of proceedings. The lack of control over the case file and legal proceedings leads to the late disposition of cases in no small measure. Article 21 confers on each person, except under the procedure laid down in law, a fundamental right to not be deprived of their lives or rights. The process for depriving anyone of freedom may now obviously not be ” reasonable, decent, or equal unless that procedure
ensures a speedy trial for determination of guilt of such a person” said the Supreme Court in the case of Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary of State of Bihar. The Supreme Court, in A.Lantulay v. R.S. Nayak, held that the fundamental right under Article 21 ensures an expedited trial to decide on the culpability of such an individual Need for the Speedy Trial The right to a speedy trial is first mentioned in that landmark document of English law, the Magna Carta. The constitutional philosophy propounded as the right to a speedy trial has though grown in age by almost two and a half decades, the goal sought to be achieved is yet at a far-off peak. It is a concept that deals with the speedy disposal of cases to make the judiciary more effective and to impart justice as fast as possible. Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure laid by law. Justice Krishna Iyer while dealing with the bail petition in Babu Singh v. the State of UP, remarked, “Our justice system even in grave cases, suffers from slow motion syndrome which is lethal to ‘fair trial’ whatever the ultimate decision. Speedy justice is a component of social justice since the community, as a whole, is concerned with the criminal being condemned and finally punished within a reasonable time and the innocent being absolved from the inordinate ordeal of criminal proceedings.

Bars for the Speedy Trial
The judge population ratio – presently taking into consideration the population of the country and the pendency of the cases the no. of judges available is very less. The functioning of the judiciary is independent but it doesn’t mean it is not accountable to anyone. Considering this factor it can be concluded that it drives the judges toward leisure and comfort which ultimately results in a delay in the cases. The Woolf report of 1996, had emphasized making the judiciary accountable by generating accurate judicial statistics. Provision for adjournment: The main reason for the delay in the cases is the adjournment granted by the court on flimsy grounds. Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Rule 1, Order XVII of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) deals with the adjournments and power of the court to postpone the hearing. Vacation of the court: The reason for providing courts with a vacation period is a debate going on when in a country like India pendency of cases is huge. In most countries like the U.S. and France, there is no such provision. Hurried and ill-drafted legislations and statutes on diverse topics enacted, contribute to some extent to the inflow of cases. Taking into consideration Bhopal Gas Leak Tragedy involved the lives of more than 15000 people. 20 years had passed since that incident and still, people suffered a lot to get the compensation. The condition of those girls who were brutally gang-raped during the Godhra riots in front of their helpless family members. Consider the case of Jessica Lal, where Delhi police yet to grab Manu Sharma, the key accused, still able to safeguard himself from the clutches of the judicial administration. The victims of the Best Bakery case awaited justice to be dispensed in their favour but the climax starts with the key witness in the case turning hostile and the entire fate of the Bakery case is in turmoil. Today the victims of all the above-enumerated cases know full well that the price of truth is extremely high.

Need for speed up of reforms in High Court
High Courts, along with the Supreme Court, are the Constitutional Courts in India. They are constituted by, and derive authority directly from, the Constitution of India. High Courts are placed at the apex of the judicial pyramid in a state, and as such are entrusted with multiple responsibilities and an expansive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, over the territories over which their jurisdiction extends. The Indian High Courts are facing a crisis of a great magnitude by their exploding dockets. The mounting arrears in these courts have only been worsening over the years and is one of the greatest challenges to the judiciary today. Currently, over 5.6 million cases are pending in the 25 High Courts across the country. About 20 per cent of these cases have been pending for more than a decade.

Consequences of delay of justice
Fundamental rights are not teasing illusions but are meant to be enforced effectively. On a no. of matters cases were adjourned or delayed but now the court has a right to quash the case or the proceedings to meet the ends of justice. In the case Katar Singh v. the State of Punjab it was declared that the right to a speedy trial is an essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty. In the case Abdul Rahman Antulay v. R.S. Nayak, the bench declared certain aspects and guidelines regarding the speedy trial and quashing of cases should depend upon the nature of the case. Hence it can be concluded that: Right to a speedy trial is the right of the accused and it encompasses all the stages, namely investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision and retrial.

The concerns from the viewpoint of the accused are:
Period or remand should be justified and should be as short as possible
Worry, anxiety, expense and disturbance in conducting the trial should be minimal Undue delay may well result in impairment of the ability of the accused to defend himself. At the same time, it cannot be denied that cases are delayed in the interest of the defendant. Its rightly said that delay is known as a defence tactic. To effectively implement this right of
speedy trial the approach to be adopted by the judiciary should be a practical one instead of a pedantic one. Moreover, we cannot give effect to demand rule’ as justice can be denied or delayed because the litigants did not ask for speedy trials. Hence, the court has to apply various balance tests and recognize whether the right has been infringed or not. It is not advisable to fix a period of trial because it will confine and restrict the judiciary and there will be a burden of swift disposal of cases which may deteriorate the quality of justice. The right to a speedy trial has been known, on occasion, to work to the disadvantage of the defendant — as when sufficient time is not allowed for the preparation of adequate defence and the higher courts have found it necessary to keep a close eye on this.

The right to a speedy trial is not a fact or fiction but a Constitutional reality and it has to be given its due respect. The courts and the legislature have already accepted it as one of the medium of reducing the increasing workloads on the courts. The right to a speedy trial, and its resulting impact on both the defendant and society as a whole, makes this Sixth
Amendment guarantee a crucial portion of the Bill of Rights and another important part of our legal heritage. Repeated delays and continuances in the criminal justice process prevent victims from ever reaching emotional, physical, and financial closure to the trauma suffered as a result of the crime(s) perpetrated against them. Such delays in prosecution can also limit the ability of victims to receive justice when their memories, or those of other witnesses, fade with time

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