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  2. 2. INTRODUCTION The quandary faced by the Indian Judicial System when it comes to the effectiveness of bestowing justice upon its citizens can be utterly enlightened by the saying “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Speedy trial is regarded as sine qua non of Article 21 as stated by the Supreme Court in Hussainara Khatoon v. UOI, AIR 1979 SC 1360. Hence, expeditious justice being one of the essence of our Constitution must be fostered at any cost. Moreover, to ensure speedy justice, the efficiency of the judiciary is of utmost significance. This necessity has also been emphasized in P. Ramchandra Rao v. State of Karnataka(2002) 4 SCC 578 by the apex court. Thus, the legal contemplation and manifestation of the arising quandaries along with chalking out their solution has become obligatory. This presentation is an endeavor to elucidate the infirmities in our Criminal Justice System and how it has subjugated the provision of speedy trial and justice and what all measures should be taken by the legislature and the judiciary to enhance the efficiency of the system in providing timely justice to the ones who are denied of it due to the delay. STATISTICS According to recent statistics the Indian judiciary even after being one of the biggest in world is still dealing with cases which were filed even before the independence of the country. There are 3 Crore cases being dealt by the 18,871 courts or judges in India. Ratio: 𝟑,𝟎𝟎,𝟎𝟎,𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝟏𝟖,𝟖𝟕𝟏 𝑱𝒖𝒅𝒈𝒆𝒔 = 1589.7 cases per Judge. The above ratio is the number of cases which a court should deal with and the number of cases filed are increasing manifold. Other than this out of the 886 post of judges in high courts 234 courts are vacant. Even 7 vacancy is reported in the Supreme Court. Also there is a vacancy of 2,998 judges throughout the district and subordinate courts in India. With the stats indicating a hike of 1200%in the number of cases in the near future it will be impossible for the judicial system to provide speedy justice with the current level of efficiency.
  3. 3. PROBLEMS: The following problems persists in the Indian Judiciary. • SC works for 180 days in a year, HC works for 210 days in a year and lower courts work for 220-230 days in a year. The vacations that the judges take inspite of the number of the arrears in the court is not explained. By the number of judges that sit in pairs, it is estimated that around 1/3rd of them are not working. Also the ratio of judges per million population in our country is the lowest in the world. • It is open secret that results of litigation can be bargained and settled. It is not the High Court and Supreme Court to which the poor man runs for help at least at the first instance. • Speedy trial is a trial without unnecessary delays and not a trial which is rushed through. Frivolous proceedings or proceedings taken merely for delaying the day cannot be counted in good faith. • Insufficient benches of High court in the State. The High court has taken too much upon themselves. They are overburdened. • Non availability of witnesses, disappearance of evidence in lapse of time work against the interest of the prosecution. Cases are still adjourned for the asking either for filling written statement or documents and even for settlement of issues also lack of punctuality, laxity and lack of control by the court delay in pronouncing Judgments. • The judicial function to appoint subordinate judges or staff, or administrative function of acquiring land or building for courts is denied by the State because of ‘financial constraints’. • A large number of acquittals are on account of faulty, non-scientific and disoriented investigation. They have very old techniques to fight new technology crimes. Indeed the innocent should not be punished, but why should the guilty escape. • There are harrowing tales of innocent citizens accused of petty offences languishing in jails as under trial prisoners for decades. Judges have to read, study and devote more time for self- improvement. This is a suggestion on which some feedback has to be obtained from the members of the higher judiciary themselves. • It is necessary to ensure that the people do not grow disenchanted with the existing constitutional legal system and take recourse to short-cuts. Lot of technicalities and complications in the procedure affect the efficiency. • Excessive case-load meant that most orders emanating from courts would be by nature of granting stay instead of adjudication. Too many appeals and revisions against even interim orders help vested interest to prolong the litigation. Repeated ad nauseum in judgments, wasting the time of the courts, cannot also be dispensed with.
  4. 4. RECOMMENDATIONS Considering the problems the recommendations suggested can be classified broadly into three based on its area of result. They are steps to improve - • EFFICIENCY OF THE JUDICIARY: The Indian judicial system is suffering with backlogs. There is a requirement to fill up the vacant courts immediately and also increase the number of courts. These recommendations involve plans and steps which could enhance the speed in decision making process by the judiciary. • THE INVESTIGATION: New methods are to be followed whilst the investigation of the case which can improve the transparency of the system, improve the strength of evidences. Video recording of the whole court procedure, confession by the accused and other testimonies made by the witnesses during investigation can be used as an evidence. • TRIAL PROCEDURE: The Indian judicial system needs an attention to improve its functioning which could ensure a foolproof trial. Changes regarding the power of the Judge, the inclusion or utilization of technology available in the case of trying a witness or an accused are recommended and also new measure to ensure the quality of judiciary is also discussed.
  5. 5. INVESTIGATION: Investigation of a case is the initial step and a strong and genuine investigation report is eminent in the future of the case. The following measures should be taken to improve the investigation procedure and methods of investigation. • Stringent punishment should be provided for false registration of cases and false complaints. Hence, suitable amendment of Section 182/211 of IPC, 1860 should be done. • For quick and quality investigation, there should be an increase in the number of Investigating Officers, at least two- fold from the present count. • Audio/video recording of statements of witnesses, dying declarations and confessions should be authorized by law. • Statements of witnesses (Under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code) should be videotaped by the police. Confessions made to a police officer, which are intended to be admissible as evidence under special statutes must also be videotaped. • The investigating officer should complete investigation of rape cases and other sexual offences on priority basis and the courts must dispose of such cases expeditiously within a period of four months. • Assistant Public Prosecutors should be given intensive training, both theoretical and practical. ARREST DETENTION INVESTIGATION PRE-TRIAL PROCEEDINGS TRIAL PROCEEDINGS JUDGMENT
  6. 6.  Summary Trials: To speed up the process, all the cases in which punishment is three years and below should be subjected to ‘summary trial’ as described from Section 262-264 of CrPC and punishment that can be awarded in summary trials should be increased to three years. In this respect only, Section 260 (1) (c) of the Code should be amended empowering any Magistrate of First Class to exercise the power to try the cases summarily without any special empowerment in this behalf by the High Court.  Use of Technology: Technical evidence like recovery of material as well as samples can be done through electronic systems so that hostile witnesses can be avoided.  Extensive use of Video conferencing should be made in the production of accused before the Courts and also must be made available from the police station itself to enable police officers to attend remand hearings etc. Accordingly the following clause should be added to Sec. 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure- Power to issue directions regarding investigation “Any court shall, at any stage of inquiry or trial under this Code, shall have such power to issue directions to the investigating officer to make further investigation or to direct the Supervisory Officer to take appropriate action for proper or adequate investigation so as to assist the Court in search for truth.” IMPROVEMENT OF TRIAL PROCEDURE The following measures could be opted to improve the trial procedure in Indian Judicial system. Implementation of Inquisitorial type of judicial system- currently the system followed in India is Adversarial type courts where the attorney is the main gatherer of information. The judge only takes in the information which are presented by the attorney and the examination of witness is also done by the attorney. In Inquisitorial system which is currently followed in U.S judicial system the judge is the main gatherer of information and leads to investigation. He has the power to question the witness for the details he want, can ask for the evidence missing and also can direct the investigating agency to conduct a probe for obtaining a particular evidence.
  7. 7. IMPROVEMENT OF TRIAL PROCEDURE (Contd.): CHARGES ON TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT: Crime Units comprising dedicated investigators and prosecutors, and Special Courts should be set up to expeditiously deal with the challenges of ‘terrorist and organised’ crimes saving the time and resources of the nation. ECONOMIC CRIMES: In the last decade, the no. of economic crimes have accentuated both in magnitude and variety. Despite having more than 70 laws dealing with these sorts of crimes, we haven’t been able to chalk out an efficient solution to this. The solution which oozes out is the establishment of Ad hoc courts for this purpose appointing the Judges having expertise in this subject. This would help in expeditious and qualitative disposal of cases PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE AND BURDEN OF PROOF: The standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt presently followed in criminal cases should be replaced by ‘clear and convincing standard’ which is standard of proof lower than that of ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ and higher than the standard of ‘proof on preponderance of probabilities’ as trailed in many western countries. Accordingly, a clause should be added in Section 3 of CrPC on the following lines: “In criminal cases, unless otherwise provided, a fact is said to be proved when, after considering the matter before it, the court is convinced that it is true”.
  8. 8. EFFICIENCY OF JUDICIARY: The following steps are recommended as a measure to enhance the efficiency of the judicial system. • The Judge strength in all the states should be increased five times from the present count. • The vacancies of 238 judges in the High Courts which have remained unfilled for years should be remedied with prime priority. • To ensure the quality, qualifications prescribed for appointment of Judges at different levels should be reviewed to ensure that highly competent Judges are inducted at different levels. • The power to exercise supervision and control over the subordinate courts should be given to the Supreme Court of India as it is given to the High Court under Article 235 of the Constitution. • The Chief justice of the High Court may issue circulars to the judges of the same and the Subordinate Courts asking date of conclusion of conclusion of arguments, date of reserving the judgment and date of pronouncement of the judgment, so that the judges who delay in signing the orders are identified. • A National Framework of Court Excellence (NFCE) that will set measurable performance standards for Indian courts, addressing issues of quality, responsiveness and timeliness as recommended by the National Court Management Systems should be set-up. • The number of offences that can be brought within the category of compoundable/settlement category should be increased so as to lessen the burden of the judiciary.
  9. 9. EFFICIENCY OF JUDICIARY (Contd.) There should be an ‘Arrears Obliteration Scheme’ to tackle all the cases that are pending for more than 2 years. Under this scheme: • There should be a cell in the High Court whose duty should be to gather information and particulars from all the Subordinate courts in regard to cases pending in the respective courts for more than two years, to identify the cases among them which can be disposed of summarily under Section 262 of the Code or as petty cases under Section 206 of the Code and cases which can be compounded with or without the leave of the court. • Once the case is posted for hearing it shall not be adjourned. • The High Court shall take effective measures to ensure that the current cases are disposed of expeditiously and that no current cases would be pending for more than two years. Additional Courts if needed for this purpose should be sanctioned quickly.
  10. 10. EFFICIENCY OF JUDICIARY (Contd.): Improving the efficiency of Judiciary also include improving the working environment. For this the infrastructure, resources etc. should be improved. • It is very much visible that many courts in the country are in dilapidated conditions. There is no proper facility for safe keeping of documents and files. • The courtrooms are not electrified at many district and sub-ordinate courts. • Judges and attorneys find it difficult to work under such environments which decrease their efficiency and dedication. • The court staffs play a vital role in assisting the judges in serving justice. The vacancies of court staffs should be filled. • The work load on Judges (1589.7 cases per Judge) increases the stress which indeed deteriorate the judgment they give, so the no. of cases per judge should be decreased to 500 per judge by increasing the number of courts. • Separate Bar for mediators, arbitrators and conciliators should be evolved to embolden speedy justice and reducing the burden of the Courts.
  11. 11. INFERENCE In the light of the aforementioned quandaries and the recommendations proposed, we can substantially deduce that a lot needs to be amended in our ‘justice delivering system’ in reference to expeditious and fair trial which has also been implicitly stated by our judiciary in various cases from time to time. We all have cognizance of the authentic fact that justice delayed is justice denied, but simultaneously, we should pay equal heed to the saying, “Justice hurried is justice buried”. Every action plan needs to be chalked out with due care and diligence keeping in mind the limitations as well as the extent of privilege conferred upon us by various statutes in regard to this matter. Keeping in mind this notion, not only we have tended to intervene in some of the existing laws but also have come up with some innovative ideas. The System needs to understand that the increasing number of cases also indicate that the people still trust the judiciary as their saviors and thus, it should take adequate steps in order to retain their faith. The overflowing dockets of the courts all over the country shouldn’t just be taken as a sign of failure of the system. Along with paying reverence to the present adversarial system, we bid of chalking out a hybrid system which also has some good features of the inquisitorial one, taking inspiration from our own constitution. Therefore, we anticipate and hope that our recommendations when executed effectively will prove themselves prolific to some extent in reinforcing and reforming our Criminal Justice System.
  12. 12. REFERENCES Books 1. Indian Judicial System – Need and directions of reforms; S. P. Verma; Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi 2. Criminal procedure today – Issues and Cases; Cliff Roberson; Prentice Hall Inc., New Jersey. 3. The proof of guilt – a study of English criminal trial; Glanville Williams; The Hamlyn Trust, London. 4. Equal Justice & forensic process: Truth and Myth; Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer; Eastern Book Company, Lucknow. 5. The Criminal Prosecution in England; Patrick Deblin; Oxford University Press 6. The origins of adversary criminal trial; John H. Langbein; Oxford University Press 7. Nature of Judicial Process; Hon’ble Shri Justice D.M. Dharmadhikar (Former Judge, Supreme Court India); (2002) 6 SCC (Jour) 1 Reports 1. Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System; Sri C.M. Basavarya (Formerly, District & Sessions Judge); Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs; Volume 1 2. NATIONAL MISSION FOR DELIVERY OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL REFORM “Towards Timely Delivery of Justice to All”; Hon’ble Union Minister for Law and Justice, Dr. M. Veerappa Moily (Resolutions presented to Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan)
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