Criminal Justice and Criminal Reforms


In India’s legal system as a long history from pre-British days, the federal court was created in 1937 to hear the high court’s appeal. The standardized model of judiciary originated in the 18th century, after Independence, the government concentrated on providing a centralized judiciary structure. In a sense, justice means the granting of expeditious and affordable relief to the person seeking the court; it is not necessary for justice to work quickly, but it is also vital that it works on time so that all persons seeking the court obtain relief. Criminal justice administration now faces serious problems. This aims to render public justice, to punish criminals. The justice of the criminal trial means not only for the accused, but also for the victim, and preserving law and order as well. When administering justice, the court will still preserve the good trust of the people.

Indian judiciary is oriented toward its approach to independence and justice. When we speak about Indian judicial system it was from pre-British days, the judiciary started to emerge in the 18th century during the high court of the British era. Criminal justice system includes a delegate activity dealing with the crime that happens to be one of the most complex crimes in modern society.

Requirement to reform the criminal justice system

Improvements in the judicial system are underway but India’s criminal justice system is needed to strengthen it. These are all the causes of inefficient law enforcement, accountability, and postponement in case disposal, poor working and living conditions in prison, and lack of skilled police force. Those are the sources of issues in the criminal justice system.

Components of Criminal Judiciary System

1. Police:

Article 246 of the Indian constitution provides for the placing of police, courts, prisons, reformatories and public order. Police is an integral part of the criminal justice system, which has played a vital role in the administration of justice.

Accountability of police:

Government of India is reluctant to make significant adjustments to colonialism rather than National Police Commission demands. Police accountability stemmed from the problem of many police officers and police executives, including organizational decentralization, these police characteristics. There’s a lack of Indian Police Act in this field of police accountability. Police accountability in India is addressed in the four parts: first part describes the British police system, second part describes the working process and lack of public transparency remains unchanged, third part describes the need for police reform, fourth and last part describes the argument that police reforms are too necessary.

Judicial stance on arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention

The police have the power to prosecute and even for the badly abused; the prosecution analyzes this in D.K. Basu v/s State of West Bengal[1], In this case, the court simplified the arrest proceedings, reiterating that immunity from unlawful arrest is strictly enforced from Article 21 and Article 21(1) of the Constitution.

2. Judiciary:

The judiciary has played a critical role in carrying out the role of law. The court’s most important duty is to protect human rights, and to give the victim relief. The criminal justice system in India gives more focus to protecting human rights. So the court will concentrate on both the accused and the defendant, too.

Role of the court during the criminal proceedings

Article 372(2)[2] is intended to bring the provision of any law into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, where such amendment is necessary, the President shall adopt and amend the law.

Limitation on Arrest Power:

The arrest procedure is provided for in Articles 21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution. Code of Criminal Procedure 1908 confers on police the extensive power of arrest given in section 41, 42 and 151 of the Code. Section 436A of the CrPC notes that the maximum time may be held for the prisoners of trial; this provision is for the detention of the individual by human rights. The realization of those rights is fully dependent on the judiciary.

Judges need to be sensitive:

The judges ought to play a more constructive role in the administration of the justice. There are many judges who disqualify themselves as they have fashioned an old justice attitude from the advancement of criminal justice, and they also believe in justice according to the strict interpretation of the law. Justice resides in the heart not only in the mind of the judges. Criminal judicial reforms are a matter of grave concerns that required effective regulation of the judges operation.

Limitation on case adjournment: 

In cases where granting adjournment becomes a responsibility in exceptional places, delay in disposing of the cases is the major adjournment fact. It’s the court’s responsibility to ensure the case is disposed of early.

Power to Grant Remand:

Section 167 of the Cr P.C. enables to grant the detention either in judicial or police custody, which should not surpass 15 days at a time. Before making an order, the magistrate is obliged to review the case report and the relevant facts. In this case, Joginder Kumar v. state of UP[3], says that an arrested person in custody is obligated to have a family member or the other person who knows him and who is likely to be interested in his social assistance told as far as possible that he has been arrested. And it is the police officer’s duty to inform the arrested person when he is taken to police.

Due care and cause for bail application:

Section 436 of the Cr. P.C lays down the law relating to bailable offences. The case must be decided on its basis on factual information; there is no quick law on bail granting. It is the court’s responsibility, when granting bail, to take proper care of the person.

3. Prison

India’s Supreme Court was cautious against infringements of prisoners’ freedoms. Article 21 held that its protection would be available for the safety and security of the prisoners’ fundamental rights and for the effective reform of the prison system. In general, the State has given the prison administration low priority.

Rights against Prisoners in Human Treatment

  • Police officers who perform the arrestee’s questioning will maintain track of their designations in a file with clear identity and name tag.
  • A memo of arrest shall be prepared by the police officer carrying out the arrest of the arrester at the time of arrest.
  • The site of the arrest and the place of custody of the arrested person shall be told by the police, where the arrested person’s relatives reside outside.
  • The arrested person must be mindful of these rights to have someone told of his detention.
  • At the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, the arrested person should also be examined.
  • During his detention in custody, a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by directors should subject the arrestee to medical examination by a trained doctor every 48 hours.
  • Though not throughout the interrogation, the arrestee must be allowed to meet with his lawyer during interrogation.

Violation of the rights of the prisoners

Prisoners in India were left deplorable. The law enforcement is accountable for the human rights violation that involves the arbitrary deprivation of life in the use of firearms in alleged encounters with death in custody. According to the Indian government’s Bureau report, eight people died in custody in the year 2005 and 42 civilians died in police firing. The prison guards hand down sexual abuse and assault on the inmates. In the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of UP[4], the Supreme Court of India clearly stated that the quality of nations’ civilization, measured by the method used in enforcing criminal law, is increasing when human rights are increasing the crime rate. And because of the indiscriminate arrests the court obtained the protested about the abuse of human rights.

Changes and reforms to the justice system

1. Lok Adalats– It is a forum where legal cases are pending. The Legal services authority Act 1987 granted it statutory status. On 31 December, 2007, the Lok Adalat Movement was strengthened and more than 6, 98,000 Adalat Locals were organized in various parts of the country.

2. National academy of Justices– It was established by the Government of India to provide the judicial officers with training in service. Policy development and reform of the judiciary and research support services for greater efficiency, evaluation and productivity. It includes tribunal administration enhancement.

3. Legal Aid– Article 39 A of the Indian constitution states that free legal aid to the poor and to the weaker sections of society guarantees justice for all. Parliament enacted the Legal Services Authorities Act in 1987.

4. Alternative redress disputes– To reduce the demand on court time, the disputes must be dissolved through the conciliation method of alternative disputes resolution and mediation is the tools of alternative disputes redress.

5. RTI– The department implemented the Right to Information Act 2005, appeal officers were also hired. This Act empowers people with their ability to know the procedure which is open to the public.

6. Mediation– The objective of the mediation is to support the development by the disputing parties of a consensual solution. The mediation process is overseen by the non-partisan third justice, the mediation authority’s vest upon the parties’ consent.

7. National Tax Tribunal– The national tax tribunal was appointed on 21 December 2005 for hearing appeals against an order issued by an appeal tribunal for income tax purposes. National tax tribunal came into force when notification was issued by the government.


If the judicial process continues to produce successful outcomes, and the courts have an obligation to act with the utmost promptitude. Innocent parties should be released immediately, and others should be punished as quickly as possible. The issue in case slowdown is not new in India it has existed for a long time. On the one hand the judiciary is under pressure and on the other it has shaken people’s trust. The apex court made it clear that the essence of criminal justice is speedy trial, and that the delay in the trial itself was the denial of justice. Article 21[5] talks about the unavoidable speedy justice. The researcher found that the number of committees was formed to examine the delay problem. Indian constitution places on the judiciary the obligation to provide the legal framework that deals with justice-related issues. In India the court system has to decide cases at different levels, but many of the cases are ongoing and the number of pending cases is boosting day by day. The justice system in India is expected to be the sword, sentinel and shield of the humblest millions with an assurance of bringing justice.


  1. What do we mean by criminal reforms?
  2. What are the 3 components to the criminal judiciary system?
  3. What is the accountability of police in the reformation?
  4. What are the changes and reforms to the justice system?
  5. What are the violations of rights of prisoners?

[1] (1997) 1 SCC 416

[2] Indian Constitution, 1950 (Bare Act)

[3] 1994AIR 1349,1994SCC(4)260

[4] ibid

[5] Supra 3

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