So here are some of the committee’s significant recommendations:
1. Justice to the victims – To guarantee justice to the victims, the committee gave several suggestions as follows:
2. Offence reclassification – Instead of the present classification of the offences as cognizable (where a police officer can arrest without warrant) and non-cognizable (where a police officer cannot arrest without warrant), this should be altered to the social welfare code, correctional code, criminal code, economic code and code of other crimes.
3. Police Establishment Board – It suggested that the National Security Commission and State Security Commissions be established.
4. Courts and judges – More judges are needed in the nation. By 2017, their ratio had been 19.66 per million. The High Courts should have a distinct criminal unit comprising judges who specialize in criminal law, including the Supreme Court.
5. Inquisitorial system of investigation – Investigative inquisitorial system applied in nations like Germany and France, where the investigation is supervised by the judicial magistrate. The committee suggested that the courts be given authority to summon any individual – be a witness or not – to be examined where necessary.
6. Right to silence – To protect a person from being forced to become a witness, the committee suggested an amendment to Article 20(3) of the Constitution. In case the accused refuses to respond, the Committee proposed the court should be free to inquire and to draw a negative conclusion.
7. Rights of the accused – A schedule of the code shall be drawn up in all regional languages to inform and enforce the rights of the accused.
8. Presumption of innocence – “Proof beyond reasonable doubt” is used by the judiciary to convict an accused in criminal proceedings. The committee believes that this provides the prosecution a very excessive burden.
9. Dying declaration and confession – The dying declarations, confessions, and statements of witnesses recorded in audio/video must be permitted by law. Witnesses should have dignified treatment.
10. Public prosecution – To promote cooperation between investigating and prosecuting officers, under the direction of the Advocate General, a new position, Director of Prosecution, should be established in every state.
II. The accused should be deprived of the right to silence during a trial as a significant suggestion because this right is against the self-incrimination (an act of exposing oneself to the suspicion or charge or crime by making a statement), a fundamental principle in jurisprudence and constitution.
III. The committee would allow courts, by removing the provision in the Evidence Act, to consider as evidence the statements made to the police officer by the person convicted because police confessions have been examined repeatedly for instances of custodial torture, custodial death, fake encounters and abuse of evidence.
Published On: 29 August, 2019