[Answered] “Mere police reforms will be of no consequence unless simultaneous improvements are made in the prosecution, judiciary and in prisons.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Need of holistic reforms for criminal justice. What should be done? Conclusion. Way forward.

With changing world, police and law and order challenges are increasing day by day. With change in nature of crime with threats of cyber crime, suicide bombings, mere police force reforms are not sufficient. A holistic reforms and simultaneous improvements in the prosecution, judiciary and in prisons is need of the hour.

Need of holistic reforms for criminal justice:

  1. There are lack of technological capabilities necessary to perform quality investigations.
  2. Politicisation and allegiance towards ruling party hinder the prosecution and overall process of justice.
  3. Low rate of conviction points to the inefficiency of the Criminal Justice System of India – which includes the police, prosecutors, and the judiciary.
  4. In India only about 16% of people booked for criminal offences are finally convicted.
  5. Corruption is a major challenge especially in police force and judiciary. Lack of effective accountability mechanisms lead to gross injustice. Especially poor conditions of prisons and judiciary harm overall justice system
  6. The system takes years to bring justice and has ceased to deter criminals. There is a lack of synergy among the judiciary, the prosecution and the police. A large number of guilty go unpunished in a large number of cases. On the contrary, many innocent people remain as undertrial prisoners as well.
  7. Digitalisation of crimes became more prominent way of crime today. Therefore holistic reforms are needed overall to strengthen criminal justice system in India.
  8. One of the reasons for low conviction rates in India is poor quality of investigation and prosecution. The police lack training and expertise required to conduct professional investigations. They also have insufficient legal knowledge and inadequate forensic and cyber infrastructure.
  9. In India, control over the police and judiciary is with the executive. This has to led to abuse of police personnel and interference with their decision-making authority.

What is needed?

  1. Extra functions like traffic should be carried out by other government departments or private agencies.
  2. States should have specialised investigation units within the police force for better investigation of crimes.
  3. There is need to strengthen Criminal Justice System and grassroots level policing institutions.
  4. Strengthening of investigative capabilities and emergency response infrastructure.
  5. More investment is needed in the recruitment procedure.
  6. Better training, better pay and allowances and creating a system that rewards initiatives need to be incorporate.
  7. Increase budget expenditure is needed for Judiciary, police and prisons, to raise their efficiency.
  8. It is important to improve overall infrastructure of all the justice system in India that is required to strengthen the justice delivery.
  9. Police should be made more gender sensitive. 33% women reservation in police should be implemented

There is need for broader political awareness about the need for reform in criminal justice system. Some states like Kerala and Telangana have tried to take the process forward. State police forces are primarily in charge of local issues such as crime prevention and investigation, and maintaining law and order. Police force need to adopt modern methods like forensics, data analysation etc to ensure timely justice.

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