Criminal Justice System in India

The aim of the Criminal Justice System is to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Although the broad contours of the Criminal justice system are seldom codified, these can be inferred from different statutes, including the Constitution and judicial pronouncements. In a democratic civilized society, the Criminal Justice System is expected to provide the maximum sense of security to the people at large by dealing with crimes and criminals effectively, quickly and legally. More specifically, the aim is to reduce the level of criminality in society by ensuring maximum detection of reported crimes, conviction of the accused persons without delay, awarding appropriate punishments to the convicted to meet the ends of justice and to prevent recidivism.In this article, we shall be discussing the history and evolution of the system, the institutions, along with various perspectives of the constitutional aspect of rights of citizens, efforts for reforms, and delivery of justice.

Criminal law, including all matters included in the Indian Penal Code, Criminal procedure, including all matters included in the Code of Criminal Procedure feature under the concurrent list of the 7th Schedule as entries-1, and 2 respectively.Certain exceptions are also provided under these two provisions(Entry-1, and 2) of the 7th Schedule. For example, offences against laws with respect to the matters specified in List-I or List-II of the 7th Schedule of the constitution, excluding the use of naval, military or air forces or any other armed forces come under this category.

•The Criminal Justice System in India follows the legal procedures established by the British during the pre-independence era.
•An Indian Penal Code (IPC) defining crime and prescribing appropriate punishments was adopted in 1860, prepared by the first Law Commission of India.
•It was developed in line with the English criminal law.
•Code of Criminal Procedure was enacted in 1861 and established the rules to be followed in all stages. This was amended in 1973.
•The NN Vohra Committee, set up in 1993, observed increasing criminalization of politics, talked of the unholy nexus.
•It was an effort to push the reforms in the criminal justice system.
•In 2000, the Government of India formed a panel headed by the former Chief Justice of Kerala and Karnataka, Justice V.S. •Malimath, to suggest an overhaul of the century-old criminal justice system.
•In 2003, the Justice Malimath Committee submitted a report with 158 recommendations.
•The Committee opined that the existing system “weighed in favour of the accused and did not adequately focus on justice to the victims of crime.”

The entire existence of an orderly society depends upon the sound and efficient functioning of the Criminal Justice System. The law of the land has to be in tune with the demands of the changing times and nature of complexities in offences. There should be a broader dialogue among all the stakeholders for effective provisions so that the interest of justice is served and served right, where no innocent suffers prejudice, exclusion leading to miscarriage of justice.

Similarly, the rules and procedures established by law need to reach the common man, and the role of civil society in this endeavour is paramount. Further, there is a need to streamline the police reforms, beef up the forensic evidence-based investigation, and prioritize advanced scientific analysis which must be strengthened and upgraded, catering to the demands of the present times. The infrastructural challenges confronting the judiciary must be addressed to facilitate the process of ensuring justice.


The criminal justice system, like any
system designed by human beings,
clearly has its flaws.