Criminal law

India’s proposed criminal law codes can modernize justice – if they start with the police first


Careful analysis shows that the proposed decolonization of Indian law is somewhat less dramatic than has been announced. Although the new laws include many welcome measures to modernize the criminal justice system, the legal reforms do not address the darkest colonial shadow over law enforcement in India: the police.

Like the fakir, millions of Indians remain victims of the unequal criminal justice system. Although post-independence legal reforms removed racial prejudice and promised equality, justice remained elusive for large segments of the population such as women, Dalits, the poor, and religious minorities.

Read also: Soccer stars, desert ski resorts and the 2029 Asian Games – Saudi Arabia is building a post-oil future

Law enforcement reforms

Long and complex debates lie ahead as new criminal laws make their way to a standing committee in Parliament. Law enforcement officials have pursued many of the proposed changes for years. the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bell, which seeks to replace the Indian Penal Code, brings terrorism into the core of criminal law rather than special legislation such as the Unlawful Activities Act. The bill also allows for the punishment of organized crime, which is now taken up by several people laws at the state levelsuch as Maharashtra.

The bill provides for police to be allowed to handcuff some violent criminals, which is a practice The Supreme Court curbed it in 1979. law enforcement Experts argued The orderly use of restraints, in line with global practice, will, in addition to protecting police from violent criminals, protect suspects at risk of execution in organized escape attempts.

For its part, the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, which replaces the Evidence Act of 1872, includes modern provisions for electronic evidence. Law enforcement officials and The higher courts have lobbied for it Rules to replace the outdated Section 65B. The new bill also proposes to allow online witness subpoena and routine examination services.

Although the new laws have drawn criticism, analysis indicates that much of their content is in fact similar to the colonial-era legislation that they replaced. Four-fifths of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Advocate Taron Khaitan has shown Using plagiarism checking software, it is a forgery of language found in the ancient penal code. This was also noted during the analysis of the new internal system Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhitaand do evidence, or Bharatiya Sakshya Bell.

Former Director General of Border Security Forces It was called Prakash Singh That the new laws retain previous numbering for important crimes — such as murder — to avoid confusion between investigators and prosecutors. Experts also worry that the renumbering process will set back decades of research work in India. Online criminal database.

Legal reform is not the same as the criminal justice system—and the history of the laws the bills seek to replace helps us understand why.

Read also: The investigation into the 1980 Moradabad riots shows that there was no clear outcome. Both Hindus and Muslims are to blame

Taming European settlers

as early as 19y In the 20th century, the East India Company ruled Indians and English residents through various sets of laws. The king’s courts in the presidencies employed English judges and lawyers to administer English law. Far from the company’s coastal centers of power, its courts administered a complex labyrinth of traditional Hindu and Islamic law. until as late as 1789Islamic criminal law, including mutilation and amputation, was followed in Bengal.

Governor-General Warren Hastings had, in 1773, reserved a distinct space for religious personal laws, but it became clear that the secular field of criminal law needed some kind of uniform organization.

After the Company’s monopoly ended in 1813, more and more independent Europeans began arriving in India. European planters and settlers found themselves in direct conflict with the Indians, and the resentment this generated challenged the Company’s desire to control its lands.

company, Historian Elizabeth Closky As he noted, he had no sensitivity to the brutal use of armed force against the Indians. However, the experience of the American Revolution showed that injustice could generate violent reactions, and the Company was wary about the emerging challenge to its monopoly on force.

As late as 1824, a magistrate of Dhaka warned the administrators of the appearance of “a class of people very common in this district, who are certainly classified as Latlator clubmen.” Gangs funded by European indigo planters, he wrote, used violence “to force the payment of balances due from Riotsto secure and keep their crops, but not infrequently to seize and transport the produce of neighboring farmers.

Thomas Babbington Macaulay sailed to India in 1833, commissioned to what he prescribed as “the momentous task of codifying the law of India, and creating a work great, complete, consistent in all its parts and spirit.”

In fact, the Europeans retained many of their privileges. For example, the Criminal Procedure Act of 1861 gave European-born British subjects special privileges, such as the right to trial by a predominantly white jury and a British judge. The principle of racial inequality deepened in 1872 when Indian judges were forbidden to try European-born Britons.

nationalist movement, Researcher Mirinalini Sinha It was registered, and it was born out of the struggle to end white impunity. The increasing racism in English society in the late Victorian era aroused growing anger among the Indians. The 1888 case of the English manager of the Rongamati Tea Plantation, who escaped prosecution for rape by pleading guilty to adultery, was one of many that illustrated the absurdity of racial justice.

And there were fierce fights too, Historian Judith Whitehead He wrote, on criminal law encroachments on Hindu traditions, such as the amendment of the Indian Penal Code in 1891 to raise the age of consent for girls from 10 to 12 years.

Even as late as 1923, when the Criminal Procedure Code and others were passed Laws have been modified To remove segregation in the trials, English liberalism proved unable to deliver on its promise of equality.

Read also: Jihadi hatred can flourish in prison. The story of the cook, the guitarist, and the mystic shows how

lingering colonial shadow

The efforts of the government to decolonize the Indian criminal law will not be of much importance, unless the machinery that imposed it during the colonial rule is addressed. the Police Act 1861 It made the application of Indian law dangerously subservient to the political executive. Although 17 states have passed new police laws to replace colonial legislation, none have been reached. Supreme Court standards To insulate appointments and positions from political interference.

Even before the colonial authorities created a new legal framework for criminal justice, the basics of an imperial police force to implement it were already being built.

From 1793, under Governor-General Charles Cornwallis, the East India Company began to take over the responsibility for law and order from the zamindars and hand it over to the police stations. Chiefs of police stations new civil servant John Beams notedHe served the empire by being close to the people and his own interests by being close to criminals.

“They ruled their lands like little kings. Their iniquities were many, and they always went unpunished,” Bemms wrote. Not surprisingly, English law in India had little to say about police accountability.

After the revolution of 1857. Historian Erin Giuliani As he wrote, imperial officials were convinced of the need for a more effective police force, but were unwilling to pay the price. It found that there were only 532 police officers registered in the whole of Bhagalpur in 1862. Each of them was responsible, on average, for a staggering 3,740 people.

This means that violence has become the main tool for solving crimes, recovering stolen goods, and suppressing dissent. An investigation into the company police system in the Madras Presidency, Performed in 1885It stated that “corruption and bribery dominate the entire institution… Violence, torture and cruelty are their main tools for exposing crime.”

Even today, little has changed. The numbers you posted Police Research and Development Office They show that, on average, the Indian police force is short of 20 percent of government-approved personnel. Bihar has only 76 individuals per 100,000 people, and Uttar Pradesh has 133 instead of the required 183.

The use of modern investigative technology and training standards remains poor. “There are no fixed standards”, public policy Expert Sonal Marwa “Most training facilities lack basic facilities and adequate trainers.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to ridding India’s criminal code of the last ink stains Macaulay left behind is undeniable. But to give these reforms real meaning, he must also reform the police that the empire has created in India.

The author is the National Security Editor, ThePrint. He tweeted @praveenswami. Views are personal.

(Editing by Zoya Bhatti)


Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button