Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

"Hasty Arrests, Difficulty In Obtaining Bail" : CJI Says "Process Is Punishment" In Our Criminal Justice System

Shruti Kakkar
16 July 2022 11:02 AM GMT
Hasty Arrests, Difficulty In Obtaining Bail : CJI Says Process Is Punishment In Our Criminal Justice System
x

Laying emphasis on hasty indiscriminate arrests and difficulty in obtaining bail, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday said that the process which led to prolonged incarceration of undertrials needed urgent attention. "In our criminal justice system, the process is the punishment. From hasty indiscriminate arrests, to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to...

Laying emphasis on hasty indiscriminate arrests and difficulty in obtaining bail, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday said that the process which led to prolonged incarceration of undertrials needed urgent attention.

"In our criminal justice system, the process is the punishment. From hasty indiscriminate arrests, to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to the prolonged incarceration of undertrials needs urgent attention," the CJI said.

Delivering an address at the 18th All India Legal Service Authorities Meet at Jaipur, CJI said that there was a need to implement a holistic plan of action for increasing the efficiency of administration of criminal justice.

"We need a holistic plan of action, to increase the efficiency of the administration of criminal justice. Training and sensitization of the police and modernization of the prison system is one facet of improving the administration of criminal justice. NALSA and legal service authorities need to focus on the above issues to determine how best they can help," CJI said.

Stressing on the idea of equality and the Rule of Law, CJI commenced his address by stating that faith and trust can be won only when equal access and participation is ensured in the justice delivery system.

"In a country like India, legal aid forms a core aspect of the administration of justice. Administration of justice is not an act which is accomplished only within the courtrooms. It involves promoting and creating awareness about rights and facilitating social justice. It means creating a platform where parties can claim competing rights. Only when equal access and participation is ensured in the justice delivery system, the faith and trust of all shall be won. A single violation of a right, or a single case, can spiral into graver consequences quickly. An unlawful eviction may not only lead to loss of shelter, it may also lead to loss of livelihood which may result in lack of access to food or healthcare. Without state intervention in such circumstances through legal aid, violators will never be held accountable, and injustice shall prevail," the CJI said.

Lauding the journey undertaken by NALSA in the past 27 years which enabled 80% of the population to claim benefits under the NALSA Act , CJI said that even the world's most advanced democracies do not carry out legal aid at such a massive scale.

"Today almost 80% of our population are eligible to claim benefits under the NALSA Act. When I discuss the journey undertaken by NALSA in the past 27 years in my interactions with foreign dignitaries, it generates great admiration. Even the world's most advanced democracies do not carry out legal aid at such a massive scale. This has been possible only due to the cooperation of all the stakeholders: the Government of India, State Governments, judges from the Constitutional Courts to the District Courts, panel lawyers, para legal volunteers and the staff of the legal services authorities. The success of NALSA and the legal aid movement, is attributable to the joint effort of all involved."

Prisons Are Black Boxes & Prisoners Are Often Unheard Citizens; 4 Schemes Launched For Prisoner's Interest: e-Prisons, e-Mulakat, eParole and New Legal Aid cases Management portal & Mobile app

Highlighting on the statistics of prisons and prisoners in our country, CJI in his address said that prisoners are indeed one of the most vulnerable sections of our society.

"In India we have 6.1 lakh prisoners in 1378 prisons.  80% of them are undertrials. They are indeed one of the most vulnerable sections of our society. Prisons are black boxes. Prisoners are often unseen, unheard citizens. Prisons have different impacts on different categories of prisoners, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities," CJI said.

"A grave issue affecting our criminal justice system is the high population of undertrials in our prisons. Out of 6.10 lakhs prisoners in India, around 80% are under trial prisoners", the CJI added.

In his address, CJI said that NALSA had launched scheme called as E-prisons by which all relevant information regarding an inmate, such as the details of their incarceration and pending court cases, would be a click away and e-Mulakat through which the families and well- wishers of inmates can be in constant touch with them with ease.

"The new initiatives under the E-prisons portal are a step towards transparency and expediency, keeping the interests of the prisoner at the core. Now, all relevant information regarding an inmate, such as the details of their incarceration and pending court cases, are just a click away. Another great initiative launched today is that of e-Mulakat. Prolonged separation from family and society can have a detrimental impact on the mental health and socialisation of an inmate. Through this initiative, the families and well- wishers of inmates can be in constant touch with them with ease," CJI said.

He also said that NALSA had launched an eParole application through which inmates could have continuity of social existence and interaction and New Legal Aid cases Management portal & Mobile app which would enable the undertrial prisoners to share a common platform with legal aid lawyers.

Imperative To Modernize & Streamline Existing Services By Adopting Technology

"However, I think it is time to revaluate, take stock and determine whether the intended results are being achieved through the schemes already launched. Now, it is high time we focus on the quality of our services. After all, the work done by NALSA is a Constitutional responsibility. The interventions should result in satisfactory positive outcomes. It is imperative to modernise and streamline the existing services by adopting technology," the CJI said.

While concluding his speech, CJI also responded to the concerns expressed by the Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju. He said that the non filing up of the vacancies was the major reason for the pendency of cases in the Country.

Urging the Government to expedite the process of filing up of judicial vacancies and expecting the Government to revising CJI's proposal of creation of independent authorities for development of Judicial infrastructure at the national and state level, CJI said,

"Before I conclude, I would like to say a few things about the issue of pendency. I am glad that the Hon'ble Minister has referred to this issue. I have been repeatedly highlighting two problems that the judiciary is encountering. Judicial vacancies and judicial infrastructure. I hope the Government expedites the process of filling up of judicial vacancies. NALSA, as you all are aware and as is widely acknowledged, is a highly successful model. In similar lines, I had proposed creation of independent authorities for development of judicial infrastructure both at national and state level. Unfortunately it did not take off. I hope the Government of India revisits the proposal."



Next Story