Criminal Justice System

GS Paper – 2 Judiciary

Why in the news?

  • The Supreme Court recently authorised high courts and states two months to apply a set of rules designed to reduce shortcomings and flaws in criminal cases.
  • These standards are known as the 2020 Draft Rules of Criminal Practice.
  • The Draft Rules urge improvements in investigation and trial, such as ideas to use separate teams of attorneys to assist the police throughout the inquiry and during the trial; information to be included when creating spot panchnamas; and even adjustments to body drawings.

What is the Indian Criminal Justice System?

The Criminal Justice System refers to the government entities tasked with upholding the law, adjudicating crime, and disciplining criminal behaviour.


  • To keep crime from happening.
  • To penalise transgressors and criminals.
  • To rehabilitate offenders and transgressors.
  • To recompense the victims to the greatest extent feasible.
  • To keep society’s law and order.
  • To prevent repeat criminals from undertaking illegal acts in the future

Why Do Reforms Need to Be Enacted?

  • Colonial Legacies: The criminal justice system, both substantive and procedural, is a carbon copy of British colonial jurisprudence, which was developed with the goal of dominating the nation in mind.

As a result, the applicability of these nineteenth-century regulations in the twenty-first century is disputed.

  • Ineffective Justice Delivery: The criminal justice system was designed to defend the rights of the innocent and punish the wicked, but it has now become a weapon for harassing ordinary people.
  • Cases Outstanding: According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, there are over 3.5 crore cases pending in the legal system, particularly in district and subordinate courts, resulting in the realisation of the maxim. “Justice postponed is justice denied.”
  • Massive Undertrials: India has one of the world’s highest numbers of undertrials.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)-Jail Statistics India, under trial inmates make up 67.2 percent of our overall prison population.

  • Police Issue: The police are on the front lines of the criminal justice system, and they play an important role in the administration of justice. Corruption, a heavy workload, and police accountability are important impediments to the timely and transparent execution of justice.

What are the government’s related initiatives?

  • National Justice Delivery and Legal Reform Mission
  • Police Scheme Modernization

The Way Forward

  • Victim and Witness Protection: There is a need to implement victim and witness protection programmes, such as the use of victim impact statements, increased victim participation in criminal proceedings, and improved victim access to compensation and reparations.
  • Criminal codes should be revised so that criminal responsibility may be rated more accurately in order to award the appropriate level of punishment.
  • New sorts of sanctions, such as community service orders and restitution orders, as well as other components of restorative and reformative justice, might be incorporated.
  • In addition, numerous chapters of the Indian Penal Code are overcrowded in various locations.
  • For example, the chapters on public servant offences, defiance of authority, public tranquillity, and trespass might be reinterpreted and limited.
  • Increasing the Strength of Judicial Service: One approach is to appoint additional judges at the subordinate level, which would significantly raise the strength of the judicial services – reforms must begin from the bottom of the pyramid.
  • Strengthening the subordinate judiciary also entails providing administrative and technical assistance, as well as opportunities for advancement, growth, and training.
  • Establishing an All-India Judicial Service might be a step in the right direction.
  • Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution: It should be compulsory that every commercial litigation be heard only if the petitioner provides an affidavit stating that mediation and conciliation have been attempted and failed.

ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution), Lok Adalats, and Gram Nyayalayas should be used successfully.


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