The Role of the Judiciary in Punishing for a Crime

The judiciary is also blamed for being 'executive minded 'i.e., being hostile to the accused in political cases in which the police and the prosecution institute false cases,...

Prabhakar Sinha

Prabhakar Sinha

Whenever  there is an acquittal in a high profile case , the condemnation of the judge and the  judiciary begins .The anger is justified but misdirected .The responsibility of ensuring punishment for a crime is not only the duty of the Executive but also its monopoly .We may  know the criminal ,who has killed our brother or raped our sister, but can do nothing if he is acquitted because it is the State alone , which has the right to punish for a crime .If we choose to punish him, we become guilty of taking the law into our own hands and liable for punishment .The citizens can only file an FIR. In fact , it is their duty to do so .If they fail, they are liable for punishment for concealing a crime .The investigation of the case and gathering clinching evidence to ensure a conviction is that of the police .And presenting the evidence and arguing the case before the court are the responsibility of the Public Prosecutors , who are appointed by the government .The role of the judge is limited to convict or acquit on the basis of the evidence presented to him .His personal conviction has no role in passing the judgment .He is helpless in punishing an accused if the evidence before him is not sufficient to convict him .This system known as adversarial is prevalent in the U.K. U.S.A. Canada, Australia , India and many other former British colonies .The adversarial  system effectively delivers justice in the countries named above except   in our country.

In India  , the police act at the behest of their political masters, under the influence of the powerful people and those who may pay them hefty bribes .Thus , they deliberately  make the foundation of a case shaky and weak to ensure the acquittal of a powerful and rich accused . The Public Prosecutors , who are no less corrupt,  do the rest .They advance weak arguments against the accused on extraneous considerations  not to secure a conviction , but to ensure his acquittal .All these are public knowledge , yet it is the poor judge * who is abused in high profile cases though we do not  complain against the daily miscarriage of justice in courts all over the country .

The judiciary is also blamed for being 'executive minded 'i.e., being hostile to the accused in political cases in which the police and the prosecution institute false cases, manufacture false evidence at the behest of the State .Thousands of such innocent persons are languishing in the jails in the country .They are too  poor to meet the cost of their cases and secure justice for themselves .The charge of  executive mindedness  of the  judiciary is more or less correct , but it is not due to bribery but is due to their mind-set .There are cases of miscarriage of justice because the judges carry the bias of their social and cultural background ,which influences their judgment .

If the judges were really so much under the influence of the politicians as alleged, nobody opposing powerful politicians would have remained free. The reform of the judiciary must be demanded but without compromising its independence and destroying its credibility and prestige .It is a need not of the judges but of the people whose freedom they have to guard and guarantee.

* It is not suggested that no judge is corrupt or above pressure and influence, but to emphasize that the source of miscarriage of justice, as a rule, is the police and prosecution which are under the Executive.

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