Our Criminal Justice System
Define the term “Criminal Justice System’.
Criminal justice system is the ‘body of law’ or ‘Court’ regulating the inquiry into whether a person has violated criminal law or not.
Write a brief note on the criminal procedure in the Criminal Justice System in India.
A crime is first reported by the victim to the Police and the police file a FIR or First Information Report. Then the police begin the investigation and arrest the suspected person or persons. The police then file a charge sheet in the Magistrate’s Court.
The trial begins in court. The Public Prosecutor represents the victim and the accused can defend themselves with the help of a lawyer. Once the trial is over the accused is either convicted or acquitted. If convicted, the accused can appeal to the higher court.
What is the role of the police in the Criminal Justice System?
In the Criminal Justice System the police play the role of investigating the case and arresting the accused.
What are the guidelines that the police have to follow during investigation?
Police investigations have to be conducted in accordance with law and with full respect for human rights. The police are not allowed to torture or beat or shoot anyone during investigation. They cannot inflict any form of punishment on a person even for petty offences.
What are D.K. Basu Guidelines?
D.K. Basu Guidelines are as follows
- The police officials who carry out the arrest or interrogation should wear clear, accurate and visible identification and name tags with their designations.
- A memo of arrest should be prepared at the time of arrest and should include the time and date of arrest. It should also be attested by at least one witness who could include a family member of the person arrested. The arrest memo should be counter-signed by the person arrested.
- The person arrested, detained or being interrogated has a right to inform a relative, friend or well wisher.
- When a friend or relative lives outside the district, the time, place of arrest and venue of custody must be notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest.
What is a FIR?
FIR stands for First Information Report. The police have to file a FIR whenever a person gives information about a known offence. This information can be given to the police either orally or in writing. A FIR is necessary for the police to begin their investigations into a crime.
The FIR should mention the date, time and place of the offence, details about the offence, including a description of the events. The FIR should also state the name and address of the complainant. There is a prescribed form in which the police register an FIR and it is signed by the complainant. The complainant also has a legal right to get a free copy of the FIR from the police.
Who is a Prosecutor?
‘The Prosecutor’ is a lawyer representing the state or the people of the state in a criminal trial.
Why is the Prosecutor called a Public Prosecutor?
The Prosecutor who represents the State is called a Public Prosecutor as a criminal offence is regarded as a public wrong, which has been committed not only against the victim, but also against the society as a whole.
What is the role of the judge in the Criminal Justice System?
The judge conducts the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense. The judge decides whether the accused person is guilty or innocent on the basis of the evidence presented and in accordance with the law.
If the accused is convicted, then the judge pronounces the sentence. He may send the person to jail or impose a fine or both, depending on what the law prescribes.
What are the procedures that have to be followed if the criminal trial has to be a Fair Trial?
A copy of the charge sheet and all other evidence has to be given to the accused. The trial has to be held in an open court, in public view, and should be in the presence of the accused. The accused has to be given a lawyer to defend himself in case he cannot afford to employ a lawyer.
The Prosecution has to prove beyond doubt the guilt of the accused and the Judge has to pass the judgment only on the basis of the evidence before the court.