Source- The post is based on the article “A wishlist for new Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal” published in “The Indian Express” on 23rd May 2023.
Syllabus: GS2- Polity – Criminal Justice System
News– Recently Arjun Ram Meghwal was appointed as new law minister.
What are the reforms expected from the Law Ministery?
The task of the Law Minister involves a reasonable knowledge of the working of courts, parliamentary affairs, and government counsel. It requires astute diplomacy in dealing with judges and political demands.
There is a need to reduce litigation by the government so that the burden on the judiciary would be reduced.
There is an alarming proportion of cases with the government as a party in recent years. It needs to be reduced, particularly in the arena of service law where larger questions of law do not arise.
India should consider adopting some version of the Crown Prosecution Service of the UK. It allows for independent assessment of whether a case should lead to an indictment and trial.
Criminal justice system does not objectively decide whether material exists to oppose bail or frame charges. It is now standard format to treat the accused or the undertrial as a mortal enemy who must be stopped at all costs. This philosophy must be checked.
Another useful measure would be to encourage and enhance mediation and plea bargaining. To achieve this, the National Litigation Policy of 2010 needs to be updated and made mandatory.
He should engage with the technological initiatives of our Chief Justice and offer the encouragement of his ministry. He should attempt some reform in this respect.
There is a lack of a proper regulatory body for lawyers. The Bar Council of India now comprises a group of individuals who have exceeded their elected terms. They devote little time to regulate and reform.
A few lawyers charge exorbitant fees. They are unchecked by law. In addition, lawyers lack social security. The Covid years heavily impacted the lawyers. The Ministry of Law should overhaul the profession to serve the people in a more meaningful manner.