India’s criminal justice systems
Exam View: About Criminal Justice System (CJS), role of CCTNS in CJS, Weaknesses of police system, Reasons for variation among states
In News: Several cases of employment fraud and scams of similar nature have come to surface in different states of India like Tamil Nadu, Punjab etc. This has raised questions over the efficacy of the criminal justice system in India.
About Criminal Justice System:
The Criminal Justice System (CJS) encompasses a series of institutions, agencies, and processes established by the government to curb crime in the nation. In India Article 21 guarantees the right to speedy justice as a fundamental right.
What is the role of CCTNS in CJS?
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level. Significance of CCTNS are:
- Interconnected police stations: CCTNS would interconnect about 17000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitise data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.
- Automation of routine police activities: CCTNS would automate Police functions and create mechanisms to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of cases registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
- Provides platform for Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS): CCTNS is continuation of initiatives like Crime and Criminals Information System (CCIS) and Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) and also facilitates ICJS.
- Prerequisite for annual ranking of police stations: The short-listing for a state (UT) is done on the basis of usage of CCTNS in the police station.
Weaknesses of police system in CJS:
- Poor investigation rates: For IPC (Indian Penal Code) crimes, investigation rates are around 65% for India. There also exists interstate variability in investigation rates.
- Interstate variation in Charge sheeting rates: For IPC crimes, the all-India average is just over 72%. But it can vary from over 90% in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and West Bengal, to less than 40% in Assam.
- India has one of the lowest police-population ratios, of 131.1 officers per 1,00,000 population (against the UN norms of 222). Corruption is also an endemic problem.
- Lack of cooperation and coordination among police departmental and poor interstate cooperation. Irregular updation of databases and lack of standardised data makes investigation difficult.
- Non uniform CCTNS usage: Pragati dashboard monitors different aspects of CCTNS such as infrastructure, manpower and use of the database which shows that despite 97% of police stations being connected to CCTNS, only 77% stations of West Bengal are connected. No legacy data has migrated in Bihar.
Reasons for variation among states
- Understaffing: Unavailability of skilled manpower poses the biggest challenge to efficient CJS and its tools.
- Police and prison in concurrent lists result in non-uniform policy and models for their functioning.
- Failed attempts for police reforms like model prison manual and model Police Acts (Bills).
There is a need to develop synergy between the states in various aspects of governance such as the policing system, prisons and justice delivery to stride forward towards the principle of one country, “one police” and “one prison”.