India needs a holistic plan to increase the efficiency of criminal justice system: CJI Ramanatext_fields
Jaipur: Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said the country needs a holistic plan of action to increase the efficiency of the administration of the criminal justice system. He pointed out that out of 6.10 lakhs prisoners in India, nearly 80% are undertrials.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 18th All India Legal Services Authority in Jaipur.
He said the process itself is punishment in the criminal justice system in the country. "From indiscriminate arrest to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to prolonged incarceration of undertrial prisoners needs urgent attention". He clarified that the goal should not be limited to enabling the early release of undertrial prisoners.
The CJI observed that we should question procedures that lead to such prolonged incarceration in huge numbers without a trial.
He described jails as "black boxes" which have different impacts on different categories, particularly people from marginalised communities.
Responding to the concerns expressed by the Union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju over the huge case backlogs, he said the non-filing up of judicial vacancies was the major reason for the pending cases. The minister added that the pendency can be reduced with the coordination between the judiciary and the government.
The CJI noted that when judges go outside the country, they face the question of pendency. He said the minister knows the reasons for pendency and he does not need to elaborate on that. "The major important reason is the non-filling up of the judicial vacancies and not improving the judicial infrastructure".
He added that the judiciary is always ahead in trying to resolve all these issues. "My only request is that the government has to take up the filling up of vacancies, as well as provide infrastructure".
CJI Ramana added that e-Mulakat is a great initiative as prolonged separation from family and society can have a detrimental impact on the mental health and socialisation of an inmate. "The eParole application is another great initiative through which inmates can have continuity of social existence and interaction."
He further said training and modernisation of police is a step toward improving the criminal justice system.