Q.1) Low conviction rates and lack of lawful definition of crime mark criminal administration in India. Discuss (GS-2)
Low conviction rates and a lack of a lawful definition of crime mark criminal administration in India.
Police reform in India has been concerned with political interference ever since the landmark Supreme Court judgement, in 2006, on the subject. The focus should really be on reorganizing criminal administration
Poor conviction rate
The annual publication of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), “Crime in India 2016”, which was released recently, presents a dismal picture of the key performance statistic with only 47% convictions in Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes at the national level
Author states that Delhi provides an interesting case study, where there is no political interference and the Police Commissioner reports to the Lieutenant Governor, and not the Chief Minister
- Comparison with Mumbai: With a population smaller than Mumbai, it has two times the number of police stations
- Low conviction rate: Yet, in Delhi, while 190876 persons were sent to trial last year, there were only 9,837 IPC convictions in the year
- Less chargesheets: In Delhi only 58% of those arrested were chargesheeted, while in Mumbai, more persons were chargesheeted than were arrested for IPC crimes
- In Delhi, 13,803 crimes against women were reported and no chargesheets filed in 4,371 cases (32%); in Mumbai with 5,128 crimes reported against women, final reports were filed in only 15% of cases
- DNA Testing is a low priority: In Delhi, DNA testing, which can secure higher conviction rates, is, inexplicably, a low priority. There is only one forensic testing laboratory, with around 9,000 samples pending for examination. Over 5,000 are DNA samples. Delays in this crucial evidence, which plays an important factor in acquittals, are a setback as samples deteriorate with time. Consequently Delhi has a conviction rate of only 21%, 24% and 30% in cases of kidnapping and abduction, rape and murder, respectively
- Delhi accounts for five times the IPC crime when compared with Mumbai, and 33% of violent crime in metros when compared with 13% in Mumbai
The key statistic of police performance is not merely correct reporting and recording but charge-sheets and convictions, as this impacts on criminal behaviour
- Absence of separate wings: Despite the recommendations of Law Commissions and the Supreme Court, as well going by experience in the developed world, we do not have separate wings for investigation of crime and for law and order. In most countries, the prosecutor, and not the police, has discretion on whether to press charges as they involve adjudication. Years ago, the Law Commission had suggested a directorate of prosecution independent of the police to guide investigation
- Let judiciary concentrate on real crime: There is still controversy over which kinds of conduct are best controlled by the application of criminal law and which kinds by other means. For example, special and local offences account for as much crime as under provisions of the IPC, with nearly 60% of cases under liquor and narcotics offences at the national level. Causing simple and grievous injures under rash driving accounts for 11% of IPC crimes; theft also accounts for 16.6% of IPC crime at the national level
- The criminal justice system should be limited to crimes under the IPC, while enforcement of administrative law and social legislation requires a different approach involving summary trials, changing societal attitudes and modes of behaviour. For example, in Britain part-time lay judges outnumber full-time judges, leaving the judiciary to concentrate on the real crime
- Ineffective prison system: The effectiveness of prisons is under question
- Nearly two-thirds of the prison population is awaiting trial and half the number of undertrials are normally acquitted
- Over 80% of prisoners are sentenced to terms less than three months, 40% are under 30 years old, semi-literate and convicted under special and local acts
- Criminologists now feel that short-term sentences expose such prisoners to criminal indoctrination in jail and social condemnation on release, with a strong case for greater reliance on compounding, probation and parole
The main purpose of criminal administration should be the prevention of crime, and the police cannot be an instrument of social change. Administrative measures and fines levied by honorary and executive magistrates will change behaviour better than penal action
Q.2) “Simultaneous election would be a good change if it could be carried out with the proper implication of policies and rules.” Critically comment. (GS-2)
- ‘One Nation, One Election’ is the method of holding single elections for both Lok Sabha and States instead of separate and continuous elections.
What is the ardent necessity?
- India being one of the largest countries in the world, every year one or the other state is geared up for an election in India.
- But simultaneous election means a single voter will vote for both Lok Sabha elections as well as State Assembly elections on the same day, and elections can be conducted in phase wise manner in all the states.
What are the pros of implementing simultaneous polls?
The pros of implementing simultaneous polls are as follows:
- The election procedure is not only tiresome and hectic but also expensive.
- Parties individually spend a lot on election campaigning, the amount that could be put to better use if they have to do that only at once for the general election as well as the state election.
More focus on development:
- Half of the year is spent by politicians concentrating on strategies for the upcoming election.
- If elections are conducted simultaneously, politicians will focus more on long-term development.
Model code of conduct:
- When elections take place, a Model code of conduct is applied, during which a reigning government cannot launch any new schemes or make any transfers or appointments.
- With simultaneous elections, the time for the model code will get reduced and a simultaneous election reduces policy paralysis.
Hassle free method:
- Simultaneous elections bring less disruption to public life, less road traffic and less loss to our econom
- As all the government staff can be used at a single time, we can also increase vigilance, and factors like black money, booth capturing, etc. can be reduced.
What are the cons of implementing simultaneous polls?
- The cons of implementing simultaneous polls are as follows:
Amendments to the constitution:
- To conduct simultaneous elections in India, many amendments to the constitution of India are to be made.
- Article 83of the Constitution provides for the tenure of both Houses of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha).
- Article 83(2)11provides for a term of five years for Lok Sabha, from the date of its first sitting unless dissolved earlier.
- Article 172 (1)provides for five year tenure for State Legislative Assembly from the date of its first sitting.
- The provison to Article 83 (2)of the Constitution provides that when a proclamation of emergency is in operation, the term of the House may be extended for a period not exceeding one year at a time by Parliament by law and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.
- Similar provision also exists for State Legislative Assembly under the proviso to Article 172 (1)of the Constitution.
- Article 85 (2)(b)of the Constitution of India provides the President with the power to dissolve Lok Sabha. Similar provision for dissolution of State Legislative Assemblies by the Governor of State is provided under Article 174 (2)(b).i.
- The Representation of People Act 1951, which covers various modalities of conducting elections in the country, also needs to be amended.
Less interaction public-politician interaction:
- Frequent elections in the country will bring politicians back to public frequently whereas cutting down on elections would mean making them lazy for the rest of the term.
- The terms of different state governments are ending on separate dates and years.
- To hold simultaneous elections, the Centre will have to make some states agree to curtail the terms of their houses while others to extend theirs.
- While extension may not be a problem, curtailment of Assembly terms may be a major issue.
Mixing up the national issues:
- Holding both the elections together will also mean mixing up the national issues with those of the state.
- The national issues would overpower the state which in turn would get less priority from the politicians.
- ‘One India One Election’ would be a good change if it could be carried out with the proper execution of policies and rules, taking care of the rising need for good administrative staff and security.
- The standing committee has said that solutions should be found to reduce the frequency of elections India so that government machinery, as well as election commission, can get some time for other administrative works.
Q.3)Government has recently modified “Dr. Ambedkar schemes for social integration through inter caste marriage”. In this regard, examine the benefits and challenges facing the scheme and also bring out the conditions that hindered the proper implementation of the scheme till now. (GS-2)
The ‘Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter caste marriage’ was started in 2013.
- The objective of the scheme is to:
- appreciate the socially bold step of inter-caste marriage and
- settle down in the initial phase of their married life.
How such incentive is expected to help?
- This financial incentive is expected to help these inter-caste couples find their stability in the early stages of their lives.
- More people will marry outside their caste and that this would help reduce caste prejudices in the country.
- Social Integration and social equity are other key factors which the government is aiming at.
Implementation of the scheme:
The implementation of the scheme was very poor.
- In 2014-2015, only 5 couples were given the money.
- In 2015-2016, only 72 such couples could get the money.
Reasons behind the poor implementation:
The poor implementation could be attributed to strict pre-conditions, such as:
- It should be first marriage.
- The marriage should be registered under the Hindu Marriages Act, disregarding the several cases registered under the Special Marriages Act.
- Because of the provision, couples registered under Special Marriages Act couldn’t avail the benefits of the scheme.
- The proposal needs to be recommended by an MP, MLA, or District Collector, which is not possible for many.
- Awareness about the scheme is very low.
Are such scheme suitable for the country?
The scheme could face the following challenges:
- Corruption: India has one of the highest rates of corruption.
- Just like the previous years of the scheme, the money may be received by only a handful.
- Marry for money: It might be a case that through programmes such as these people are being encouraged to marry for money.
- Social injustice: There would be a situation where rural hinterlands people will get rid of their wives once they get the money,
- Laws in majority parts of India still seem to be lagging by centuries when it comes to providing equal rights to women.
- It is better that instead of such free money, people is made aware through social programmes and campaigns.
- Strict laws are to be created and then enforced properly in order to stop acts of hate crime related to caste.
Also, politicians increasingly prefer to stand with the conservative view on the matter, which is the protection and preservation of caste identity through marriage within the caste, this needs a concrete discussion.