Reforms in Indian Judiciary System

Indian Judiciary System

The Development of the Judicial system can be traced to the growth of Modern nation states and Constitutionalism. It is only the Judiciary that remains independent and strong safeguarding the interests of the citizens by not allowing the other organs to go beyond the constitutional limits.

Indian Judiciary System

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Indian Parliamentary System follows the principle of the Division of Power which comprises executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. Indian Judiciary is a single integrated and unified system for the  Union as well as states, which administers both the union and states, and at the head of the entire system stands the Supreme Court of India.The Judiciary of India follows a pyramidal structure that provides Supreme court a top position , High courts are below the SC and below them are the district and subordinate courts. The Indian Constitution empowers the judiciary to act as the guardian of the law. It acts , therefore , as a check on the acts of the other two organs which might violate the constitution and power assigned to them . The Judiciary acts as the arbitrator on Legal and Civil Matters.

Recent Reforms in Indian Judiciary System

In 2020, an Expert committee was constituted to undertake public consultations and make recommendations regarding the reforms in the Indian Judiciary System. After those recommendations and the committee’s views, three bills and some key provisions have been introduced for the reforms in Indian Judiciary. The Bills do propose many changes but it is difficult to see how they will have a real impact on the long term prediction of the deep crisis in India’s Criminal system. Three Reforms in Indian Judiciary System are given below –

  1. Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita
  2. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita
  3. Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita includes 533 sections, 160 sections of amended provisions, 9 New sections, and 9 sections of repealed provisions. It seeks to replace the criminal procedure code. It also expands the period during which an arrested person can be sent to police custody has been expanded from 15 days to over 60 or 90 days period depending on the offence. The rights of an accused to fully participate in a trial and offer a defense is part of the due process but now this bill provides that if the accused is not present , the court can proceed to try him 90 days after the date on which charges are framed. It includes new addition in Legal reforms and push Technological evidence in Evidence Law. New Documents in proposed Evidence Law such as electronic and digital records; Email, server, Logs, documents on computer,phone or laptop messages Website, mail messages on digital devices, and locational evidence.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita includes 356 sections,175 sections amended, 8 new sections, and 22 sections repealed. It seeks to replace the Indian penal code of 1860. Other new provisions for the citizens’ Convenience are Zero FIR; provisions for e-FIR; designated officers in every district and police station to give notice of arrest; Police to inform the victim of the progress of the investigation within 90 days. In sexual violence cases, the statement of the victim is to be recorded by the Women’s Magistrate.

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam includes 170 sections,23 sections amended,1 new section, and 5 sections repealed. In this bill, the Use of Forensics gave importance due to its prominence in criminal justice reforms. Now, it is the mandatory to use of forensics in all states/ union territories and mandatory use of forensics experts in all offenses punishable with 7 years or more. It is also necessary to make infrastructure in states/UTs be created within 5 years.

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Another new addition is Terrorism defined for the first time in Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, it is a new section relating to organized crimes. The new offense for Sexual Relationships on false promise of Marriage, employment, Fake disclosure of Identity, etc. An Important provision has added  20 years or life imprisonment for gang rape and In cases where the victim is a minor provision has been added for the death penalty or life imprisonment. In these Bills, the committee also focused on Summary trials. Summary trial is mandatory for less serious cases like theft, receiving stolen property, trespass, and breach of the peace in Indian Judiciary System.

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