Justice Kaul’s Advice to Trial Judges: Don’t Let the Process Become the Punishment, and Don’t Deny Bail Because You Think the Accused Won’t Be Convicted

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court urged everyone in attendance, particularly the members of the subordinate judiciary, to put an end to litigation before them by using both “out of the box thinking” and the resources available within the established legal system in his speech at the closing ceremony of the First All India District Legal Services Authorities Meet on Sunday. The Legal Services Authorities, in his opinion, have a significant role to play in this situation. He emphasised the need for practical rather than idealistic legal help. It was mentioned that plea bargaining and mediation might be able to end first phases of litigation.

The accused, who may have committed the crime, would likely accept a plea deal rather than insisting on an acquittal, according to Justice Kaul. Sadly, he discovered that the criminal court system had not actually succeeded in informing the accused of the existence of such a mechanism. They would be more than eager to enter into a plea agreement if asked and if they have been proven to be guilty of the offence, in my opinion. However, the system has failed to instruct them or inform them of plea bargaining.

It is essential that the courts and the defence system, which is currently being established, actively provide and make them aware of this plea-bargaining mechanism. Mediation is an additional option to plea negotiations.

According to him, the prosecution’s goal of keeping defendants in jail needs to be modified. He pointed out that in order to put the accused behind bars for a lengthy period of time, even the judiciary frequently adopts the prosecution’s strategy. Justice Kaul emphasised that the prosecution should take a more creative and methodical approach. If the prosecution is to do its job, it must be more technologically advanced, scientifically rigorous, and innovative.

He noted that if just 30% of the cases result in convictions, the remaining 70% of those who are ultimately found not guilty wind up serving a lengthy prison sentence saying that since people escape, we should put them in jail while this complicated process is not the answer.

He raised the concern that there aren’t enough FSL Labs, which is making it difficult to conduct investigations, particularly for crimes involving money. According to Justice Kaul, given the amount of software and human resources in India, these resources should be exploited effectively and delays shouldn’t be brought on by the absence of FSL labs. Someone who commits an economic offence is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, although the investigation is not finished. This way of thinking needs to alter.

Slow Civil Case Resolution Pace Is Linked To Increase in Criminal Litigation

According to him, criminal litigation is growing at a faster rate than civil litigation. However, he was of the opinion that the increase in criminal litigation is mostly due to the sluggish adjudication of civil cases; because a trial would take a long time, people file criminal claims in the hopes that the opposing party in the civil suit will settle.

Lawyers File A Bouquet of Cases – Both Civil and Criminal – in Family Disputes

He said that attorneys frequently file “a bouquet of ordinary cases” – both civil and criminal – in family disputes. He reasoned that mediation and plea bargaining would be helpful in putting an end to this collection of instances.

Differentiating Between Less Heinous and More Heinous Offenses

Additionally, he proposed that because there are differences between less and more serious offences, there should be differences in how those offences are dealt with.

Justice Kaul also addressed the issue of low conviction rates, pointing out that in our nation, people can get away with lying even when testifying in court since the legal system does not have enough time to pursue perjury cases.

He agreed that the criminal justice system should fulfil its obligation to the victims, but in some circumstances, as also provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure, the matter can be resolved right away by providing compensation. He claimed that much judicial time is wasted throughout the entire procedure. Although the compensation process is available, the real question is whether or not we use it.

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