Class VIII - Civics

Chapter 6 - Understanding Our Criminal Justice System

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    • The entire Judicial system in our country revolves around laws passed by the Union Parliament. After Laws are made, their enforcement us taken up by various government agencies.
    • Police is the primary law enforcement Agency. Law enforcement essentially consists if two parts.
    • One relates to investigation of facts concerning a crime, i.e., violation of a law. This is mainly looked after by the police. The second part relates to the prevention of the occurrence of crime itself and comes under the domain of the judiciary.
    • Apart from investigating the facts of a crime, the other functions of police are as follows:
    • Enforcement of law;
    • Maintenance of law and order in the society;
    • To prevent the occurrence of crime;
    • To curtail the crime by all possible legal means;
    • To detect and bring offenders to justice; and
    • To ‘serve and protect’ citizens and their lives and properties.
    • In India the main role of the judiciary is to secure a state of peace and tranquillity by applying laws designed to ensure that those who violate it are detected, tried according to a regular legal procedure in a court, and thereafter dealt with as sanctioned by law.
    • This could range from segregation of convicts- permanent through death penalty or for a fixed period in jail – from correction and release back into the mainstream of society.
    • The courts also help the smooth functioning of democratic governance by exercising constitutional limits on the extent of government power. Such limits include periodic elections, guarantees of civil rights, and an independent environment which allows citizens to seek protection of their rights and redress against government actions.
    • The court have a wider scope for action than the police. Law enforcement is primarily an exercise by which the police take due notice of a violation as soon as it occurs, followed by collecting all the facts including the offender’s identity.
    • The matter goes for trial before the judiciary where the facts, ascertained by the enforcement Agency, are presented by the prosecuting agency. During the entire proceedings in courts, the police have no role to play.
    • The ultimate object of the judiciary is to secure peace and order in society. The role, duties, powers and responsibilities of the Police with special reference to prevention and control of crime and the maintenance of public order cannot be denied. It must conform to the overall requirements of the judiciary to succeed in its objectives.
    • The underlying principle of the Indian Judicial system is that all crimes committed by an individual or groups against others are deemed to have been committed against society.
    • The State acts to prosecute the accused on behalf of, and in the interests of, society.
    • The Public Prosecutors is the government’s legal representative, who is responsible for presenting the case against an individual suspected of breaking the law.
    • In a criminal trial, it is the prosecution that charges the accused with a definite offence.
    • In criminal cases, the ‘burden of proof’ lies on the prosecution. In other words, an accused person is deemed to be innocent until proved guilty, in Indian law.
    • The Public Prosecutor’s main aim is to play an impartial and neutral role and prosecute all persons who have been charge-sheeted by the police.
    • The prosecution cannot be part of the investigation and the police cannot direct or be part of the prosecution.
    • During the investigation stage, and till the filing of charge – sheet, the police have the control over the proceedings. Once the charge – sheet has been filed in the court, the Public Prosecutors takes over. However, a proper working relationship is desirable between the two.
    • According to the new CrPC, the Public prosecutor is required to be an advocate with a minimum of seven years practice. The Supreme Court has defined the role and functions of Public Prosecutors in various ways on various occasions:

    A Public Prosecutor is an important officer of the state government and its appointed by the state under the CrPC. He is not a part of the investigating agency. He is an independent statutory authority.”

    • A First Information Report, popularly known as a FIR, is generally a complaint of a cognizable offence, lodged by the victim or by victim or by someone else on his behalf to the police.
    • After receiving the information, the police prepare a written document which is called a FIR.
    • It is very important document because it sets the process of justice in motion.

    As per section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973:

    • When information about a cognizable offence is given orally, the police must write it down;
    • A person giving information or making a complaint has the right to demand that the recorded information British read out to him;
    • Once recorded, the FIR must be signed by the person who lodged it.
    • It is the right of the lodger of the complaint to ask for a free-of-cost copy of the FIR.
    • It is thus obligatory for a police officer to register a case as disclosed in the complaint in the complaint, issue the FIR and then to proceed with the investigation.
    • When a FIR is registered against an accused, a copy of it is forwarded to the Court under provisions of the Code.
    • In most cases, however, the police refuse to lodge a FIR despite knowing the rules of CrPC. Hence again, the role of the Court becomes important, since the judiciary can question the refusal of the Police to register a FIR and order them to do so as per the CrPC.
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