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Analysis of Bills to Overhaul the Criminal Justice System

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Governance: Criminal Justice System

 

Source: TH

 Context: The government has introduced three Bills to replace the foundational laws of the criminal justice system in India—the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act (IEA).

Kindly refer to an article on the same topic: Analysis of Recent Reforms in Indian Criminal Law

 

What is the Criminal justice system?

The criminal justice system is a set of institutions and procedures established by governments to maintain social order, deter and mitigate crime, and administer justice. It includes law enforcement, the judiciary, and correctional facilities, working together to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate, and penalize individuals accused of committing crimes.

 

Need for modernization of India’s criminal justice system (CJS) in India:

Key Aspects Details
Modernizing Jurisprudence There is a need to reform the current criminal justice system to bring it in line with contemporary legal standards. Notably,
Example: The introduction of community service as a punishment in the new bill reflects a shift towards a more reformative approach.
Aligning with Supreme Court Rulings There is a need to reform CJS to align with the Supreme Court decisions, including the decriminalization of adultery and same-sex relations
Addressing Overlaps There is a need to eliminate inconsistencies and duplications with specific laws, e.g., the removal of IPC provisions on weights and measures to avoid overlap with the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
Updating Definitions There is a need to replace the old definition in acts, to align it with new modern reality e.g., the new bill updates terminology, replacing ‘unsound mind’ with ‘mental illness’ in line with modern medical understanding (Mental Healthcare Act, 2017)
Ensuring Fairness and Efficiency The overarching goal is to establish a criminal justice system that is fair, just, and efficient, addressing the evolving needs of modern society.

 

Major Provisions of the Bills:

 

For more positive aspects of the proposed criminal law reforms: Click Here

 

For issues (updated) related to the proposed law (refer Infographic below):

 

 

Conclusion:

Parliament must thoroughly scrutinize the bills to guarantee a fair, just, and efficient criminal justice system. It should address concerns about potential overlaps with special laws, evaluate sentencing ranges, and fill gaps in codifying Supreme Court directions. The debate on reformative versus punitive systems, age thresholds, and gender-related offences should be deliberated upon for a comprehensive legislative approach.

 

Insta Links:

India’s Criminal Justice System

 

Mains Links:

Comprehensive reforms are needed in the criminal justice system to ensure effective enforcement of the law, uphold accountability, have a well-trained workforce and speedy disposal of the cases. Comment. (250 words)