This article on ‘Criminal Justice System in India: All you need to know’ was written by Rishabh Tyagi, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
This article deals with the Criminal Justice System in India. It is a system that is set up to control and regulate crime and enforce laws in the country. It is composed of several institutions, including the police, the judiciary, and the correctional services. These institutions work together to ensure that justice is served and the rights of citizens are protected.
Criminal Justice System in India
The police are responsible for the investigation of crimes, the arrest of suspects, and the maintenance of law and order. The judiciary is the backbone of the criminal justice system and is responsible for interpreting the law and determining the guilt or innocence of individuals who are charged with a crime. The judiciary is composed of several levels of courts, including the Supreme Court, the High Courts, and the lower courts.
The correctional services are responsible for the supervision and rehabilitation of individuals who have been convicted of a crime. This includes prisons, rehabilitation centers, and other institutions that are designed to help individuals reintegrate into society.
The criminal justice system in India is based on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that individuals are considered innocent until they are found guilty by a court of law. The criminal justice system is also designed to be fair, impartial, and transparent, to protect the rights of citizens and ensure that justice is served.
Overall, the criminal justice system in India is an important aspect of the country’s legal system and plays a critical role in maintaining law and order, protecting the rights of citizens, and ensuring that justice is served.
Former times and Progression
The former times of the criminal justice system in India can be traced back to ancient times when the concept of justice was deeply ingrained in Indian society. The Hindu legal text, the Manusmriti, written around 200 BC, lays out the principles of justice and the duties of rulers, which formed the basis of the legal system in India for centuries.
Under British rule, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was enacted in 1860, and it remains the primary criminal code in India even today. The IPC codified the law on a wide range of criminal offenses and set out the procedures for the administration of criminal justice. This marked a significant step in the evolution of the criminal justice system in India, as it established a uniform and comprehensive legal framework for the entire country.
After independence in 1947, India adopted a federal structure, with the constitution vesting responsibility for the administration of justice with the states. This resulted in some variations in the administration of criminal justice across the country, with each state having its police force, courts, and prisons.
In recent years, the Indian government has taken several measures to modernize and streamline the criminal justice system. For example, the introduction of e-courts has greatly improved the speed and efficiency of the judiciary, while the digitization of records has helped to reduce corruption and increase transparency.
Despite these advances, the criminal justice system in India continues to face several challenges, including a large backlog of cases in the courts, inadequate resources, and instances of corruption and human rights violations. Nevertheless, the system remains a critical component of India’s legal and political landscape, playing a key role in ensuring justice and protecting the rights of citizens.
Types of Criminal Justice System in India
India has a dual criminal justice system, which consists of two main components:
- The Police System: The police system is responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining public order. The police have the power to arrest and detain individuals suspected of committing a crime and to investigate the circumstances of a crime. The police are also responsible for collecting evidence, preparing case files, and presenting cases in court.
- The Judiciary: The judiciary is responsible for interpreting and applying the law, and for ensuring that the rights of citizens are protected. The Indian judiciary consists of a hierarchy of courts, starting with the lower courts and culminating in the Supreme Court of India. The lower courts are responsible for hearing cases at the first instance, while the higher courts have the power to hear appeals and review the decisions of lower courts.
In addition to the police and judiciary, the criminal justice system in India also includes other actors, such as lawyers, prosecutors, and prisons. These actors work together to ensure that the criminal justice system is fair, efficient, and effective in delivering justice to all citizens.
The procedure for the administration of criminal justice in India is laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which is the primary legislation that governs the criminal justice system in India. The procedure generally follows the following steps:
- Registration of a criminal case: A criminal case is registered with the police when a complaint is made by a victim or a witness, or when the police discover a crime during their duties.
- Investigation: Once a case is registered, the police are responsible for conducting an investigation, which may include collecting evidence, questioning witnesses, and gathering information about the crime.
- Arrest and charge sheet: If the police have sufficient evidence to establish that a crime has been committed, they may arrest the suspected offender and prepare a charge sheet, which sets out the evidence against the accused.
- Appearance before a Magistrate: The accused person must appear before a Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. The Magistrate will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to detain the accused in custody or to grant bail.
- Committal proceedings: If the Magistrate is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case, the case will be committed to a court of session, which has the power to try cases that carry a sentence of more than 7 years imprisonment.
- Trial: The trial is the stage at which the evidence is presented and witnesses are examined. The accused has the right to be represented by a lawyer and to cross-examine witnesses.
- Verdict: After the trial, the court will issue a judgment, which may result in a conviction or an acquittal.
- Appeal: If either the prosecution or the defense is dissatisfied with the judgment, they may appeal to a higher court.
Overall, the procedure for the administration of criminal justice in India is designed to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected and that justice is served. The procedure is subject to continuous review and improvement, intending to make the system more efficient, effective, and fair for all citizens.
In conclusion, the Criminal Justice System in India plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order and ensuring justice for all citizens. Despite the many challenges that it faces, such as a heavy workload, inadequate resources, and corruption, the system continues to strive towards a more efficient and effective system. The Indian government has taken several measures to modernize and streamline the criminal justice system, including the introduction of e-courts and the digitization of records.
However, there is still a long way to go in terms of improving the system and ensuring that it is accessible and fair for all citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic background. One major challenge is the large backlog of cases in the courts, which can take years to be resolved. This can result in a sense of frustration and disillusionment among citizens and undermines their faith in the criminal justice system.
Another challenge is the need to ensure that the police force is well-equipped and well-trained to carry out their duties professionally and impartially. There have been several cases of human rights violations by the police, and it is important that such incidents are thoroughly investigated and that appropriate action is taken to hold those responsible accountable.
In closure, the Criminal Justice System in India has made considerable progress in recent years, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that it is effective, efficient, and accessible to all citizens. By working together to address the challenges facing the system and by continuously seeking ways to improve it, India can move towards a more just and equitable society for all its citizens.
- [Code of Civil Procedure, 1973]. (11 February 2023). Retrieved: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj_oajA6Iz9AhWARmwGHW9IDuoQFnoECAsQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Flegislative.gov.in%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2FA1974-02.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3Uo2S0DiMiTcjpWmNWAbY5
- Anik. (11 February 2023). Evolution of Criminal Law In India. Retrieved: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjomMOJ6Yz9AhUKxjgGHepaCfQQFnoECCoQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vidhikarya.com%2Flegal-blog%2Fevolution-of-criminal-law-in-india&usg=AOvVaw2yKBjlMjPpho3oE616p6-0
- [Unipune]. (11 February 2023). The Concept of punishment Manusmriti. Retrieved: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj_95_f6Yz9AhVs4TgGHSuIB6cQFnoECAoQAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.unipune.ac.in%2Fsnc%2Fcssh%2Fipq%2Fenglish%2FIPQ%2F1-5%2520volumes%2F02-1%2F2-1-4.pdf&usg=AOvVaw01v_O0mWPIXRJlA7bZ-q9f