Descriptive Test - SPLessons

What is Malimath Committee?

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What is Malimath Committee?

shape Introduction

What is Malimath Committee?
The Malimath Committee is headed by the former Chief Justice of the Karnataka and Kerala High Court, Justice V.S. Malimath. The Ministry of Home Affairs set up the committee. In 2000, it started its working. The committee presented its report in 2003 to Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, who was also responsible for the Home portfolio. [ Crack CLAT By Solving Previous Years Papers – 11 Years CLAT & AILET (2008-18) Topic-wise Solved Papers ]

    • The committee suggested that confessions produced before a police officer should be admissible as evidence before the court.

    • The function of the committee is to review the basic principles of criminal law to bring back trust in the system of criminal justice.

    • Also, the committee proposed that a National Judicial Committee be set up and Article 124 be amended to make it less hard to impeach judges.

    • 158 recommendations were produced by the Malimath Panel but never enforced.

    • The Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC), 1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 were

shape Guidance

What are the recommendations of the Malimath Committee for reform in the Criminal Justice System?
The Panel considered the current system to be weighing in favor of the accused and not focusing sufficiently on justice for victims of crime.

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:

    a. In cases involving serious crimes, the victim should be permitted to engage and appropriate indemnity should also be granted.

    b. An advocate should be provided by the State of the victim’s choice, to argue on his/her behalf, and if the victim cannot afford, the expense must be borne by the State.

    c. Under the Victim Compensation Law, a Victim Compensation Fund could be created and assets seized in organized crimes (a group of persons involved in criminal businesses for profit, whether local, national or international) could be included.

    d. If the victim is dead, in case of serious offences, the legal representative shall be entitled to act as a party.

    e. In all serious crimes, whether the offender is arrested or not, sentenced or released, victim compensation is a state duty.

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.

    i. SP should be appointed in each district to maintain criminal records.

    ii. Specialized squads’ organization to manage organized crime.

    iii. Establishment of Police Board for postings, transfers.

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.

shape Key Issues

What are the key issues in the recommendations of the Malimath Committee?
The following are the key issues in the recommendations of the Malimath Committee:

    I. The most revolutionary advice is the one that the committee recommends to take the criterion of “preponderance of probabilities” (evidence that convinces a judge or jury, in the course of litigation, to rely on one party against another) rather than “beyond reasonable doubt” (standard of evidence needed in most adverse legal systems to justify a criminal conviction), assuming that the prosecutor is responsible for figuring out guilt.

    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.

shape Reforms

What are the reforms undertaken by the government?
Several recommendations were enacted by the government as follows:

  • Statement recording by videography

  • The rape definition has been extended

  • Added new offences against females

  • The compensation for victims is now included in the law

  • A new Memorandum of Procedure is being prepared by the government to appoint HC and SC judges.

  • More than 1000 outdated laws have been abolished by the government for the smooth running administration.

  • To implement the “Modernization of Police Forces” scheme with appropriate use of technology, the government has provided its consent.

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Author: Vanshika
Published On: 29 August, 2019