Challenges of Current Criminal Justice System in India


  1. Because of delay and uncertainties involved, it does not deter criminals.
  2. Punishments for those convicted are ineffective.
  3. Wide discretion to police and prosecution makes system vulnerable to corruption and manipulation.
  4. Ignores the real victim, leading them to resort to extralegal method seeking justice.
  5. Heavy economic burden on the state without the returns.
  6. System is overburdened with nearly 30 million criminal cases pending and with 10 million being added every year.


Strategy for Reform:

The Committee on the Reforms of Criminal Justice System in India (2003) suggests a three-fold strategy.


  1. First, procedural and substantive law needs a change based on changes in society and economy with the guiding principles being decriminalization and diversion.
    1. A suggestion under this could be dividing the penal code into four different codes: Social Offences Code, Correctional Offences Code, Economic Offences Code and Indian Penal Code.
    2. The Social Code includes matters of civil nature that can be settled without police intervention and prison terms through administrative processes.
    3. The Correctional Code includes offence punishable up to three years imprisonment where plea bargaining can be liberally invoked.
    4. Economic Code includes property offences, which affect financial stability of the country dealt with through combination of criminal and administrative strategies.
    5. Indian Penal Code will include only major crimes warranting ten years imprisonment or more or death.
  2. Second is the institutional reform of police processes.
    1. This includes investigation, professionalization, rationalization of court systems through technology and limiting appeal procedures to the minimum.
  3. Third is giving a bigger and more responsible role to the victim in the whole procedure.
    1. It involves restoring the confidence of the victim in the system.
    2. This would include conferring rights on the victim like, participating in proceedings, right to engage an advocate, track progress of case, to assist court in pursuit of truth etc.
    3. Right to seek compensation for injuries suffered irrespective of the fate of proceedings.
    4. Following a restorative means which enjoys community support, victim satisfaction and offender acknowledgement of obligations.