Millennium Post

‘No one cares for common people’

Is there a need for the complete overhaul of criminal justice system in our country?

Yes there is. And there is need not only for an overhaul of the criminal justice system but the civil justice system as well. The present judicial system is not accessible to the common people  of the country. Common people have no realistic chance to defend himself/herself in the present system. They are dependent on various factors which are not in their hands. They are dependent on police, on government officials. They are dependent on courts. Common people are dependent on various other factors to get justice. Nobody is bothered about the common people. Common people have no access to lawyers to defend them when they are in trouble. They are dependent on the mercy of the authorities. People remain in jails for long periods, while the case is under investigation. People are denied bail. This is not good.

What kind of changes are needed in the system?

We need to make the system such that it is simple for common people to get justice. The system should be such that they are not dependent on various authorities to get justice. The concept that should be followed is – justice at the door step. For this to be achieved, courts should be closer to the people, preferably in each block of the district. There should be gram nyayalaya (village court) and mobile courts and justice should not be delayed. Procedures should be simple so that every common man can understand it easily, without even the services of a lawyer. There selection of judges should be proper and they must have the sense of equity and justice. They should have the understanding of the basics that affect the common people. Judges should have emphathy for the common people. There should be judicial accountability. At present, there is no proper system for selection of judges. There is no transparency in the system of selection of judges. Even if a citizen wants to know how and on what basis, a judge was selected, you cannot find it out. There is manipulation. There is nepotism. If I or any comman man wants to know on what basis a person was selected as a judge, I should get the answer. Transparency is a must in the selection of judges in higher as well as lower judiciary. Things need to be changed for a better judicial system.

Do you not think that the proposed legislation on Judicial Accountability will improve things in the future?

It is a bogus bill and it is not going to help in improving things. In the bill there are many provisions which are completely useless. There are provisions in the bill like judges judging judges. How can it work? It does not deal with criminal investigation of judges at all. This bill proposes to stop judges from making comments on authorities whose conduct is under scrutiny. It is an absurd provision. It is a useless bill. It’s not going to help achieve  anything.

Are the present rape laws sufficient or is there a need to have a relook at them?

Present rape laws are not, by and large, insufficient. The problem is with the implementation of the existing laws. There is no implementation of laws and there are two reasons for it. The first is that the police is insensitive and then the other problem is corruption. There is an urgent need for police reforms in our country. There is a need for lot of police reforms. Police has no accountability. It is sad that rape cases are not being registered by police. It is sad that Supreme Court guidelines on police reforms has still been not implemented even after six years.

Who you think is responsible for the delays cuased in rape trials?

There are many reasons for the delays and it is not as if only rape trials are taking long to be completed. It is true for all cases whether criminal or civil. This is where judicial reforms are needed, and urgently, to change things for the better.

What are your views on the way the government and the police handled the recent rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in the national capital.  

It was not handled properly at all. Police lathicharged and lobbed tear gas shells at innocent people. Then false charges were imposed on some protesting people. It is not the behaviour you expect from your police and government.

Do you think that the recent nationwide protests against rape incidents will change things for the better in the future?

I would say that it would certainly change things in the long run but not immediately. It would change things in the future.
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