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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 11 July, 2020

  • 10 Min Read

Committee on Criminal Law Reform

Committee on Criminal Law Reform

  • The committee has been constituted under Ranbir Singh and several other members.
  • The committee would be gathering opinions online by consulting with experts and collating material for their report to the government.
  • The consultation exercise would start on 4th July 2020 and go on for the next three months.

Background of Criminal Justice System:

  • The codification of criminal laws in India was done during the British rule, which more or less remains the same even in the 21st century.
  • Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay is said to be the chief architect of codifications of criminal laws in India.
  • Criminal law in India is governed by Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, etc.

Need for Reforms:

  • Colonial Era Laws: The criminal justice system is a replica of the British colonial jurisprudence, which was designed with the purpose of ruling the nation and not serving the citizens.
  • Ineffectiveness: The purpose of the criminal justice system was to protect the rights of the innocents and punish the guilty, but nowadays the system has become a tool of harassment of common people.
  • Pendency of Cases: According to Economic Survey 2018-19, there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, especially in district and subordinate courts, which leads to actualisation of the maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
  • Huge Undertrials: India has one of the world’s largest number of undertrial prisoners.
  • According to NCRB -Prison Statistics India (2015), 67.2% of our total prison population comprises undertrial prisoners.
  • Investigation: Corruption, huge workload and accountability of police is a major hurdle in speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
  • Madhav Menon Committee: It submitted its report in 2007, suggesting various recommendations on reforms in the CJSI.
  • Malimath Committee Report: It submitted its report in 2003 on the Criminal Justice System of India (CJSI).
    • The Committee had opined that the existing system “weighed in favour of the accused and did not adequately focus on justice to the victims of crime.”
    • It has provided various recommendations to be made in the CJSI, which were not implemented.

Way Forward

  • India needs to draft a clear policy that should inform the changes to be envisaged in the existing criminal laws.
  • It also needs to make simultaneous improvements in the police, prosecution, judiciary and in prisons.
  • The focus of reform should be on reformative justice in order to bring all around peace in the society.

Source: TH


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