A deficient criminal justice system not only hinders rule of law but also impedes internal security and social harmony, which are critical for economic development and national security
Supreme Court's decision on November 26 to dismiss a minority government in the India's commercially powerful state of Maharashtra underlined the significance of an independent judiciary for the health of the world's biggest democracy. Raising hopes of a smooth governance, at least for sometime, it brought to an end weeks of uncertainty and political squabbles, involving multiple machinations and counter-machinations, that had followed the fractured mandate in the state.
However, all is still not well with the India's criminal justice system. It was a high-stake political dispute that drew immediate response from the top court. And the court acted swiftly and decisively, living up to its reputation of impartiality and integrity, to reassert its credibility. But a large number of matters that profoundly impact the course of democracy, and lives of the citizens, fail to even reach the courts. Even this verdict, with all its virtues, only pronounces who will rule. It is no guarantee that such a rule shall be free of corruption and in accordance with the rule of law to uphold larger interests of the people and the country.
Not too long ago, early this month on November 02, streets of national capital witnessed an ugly fracas between members of two crucial wings of criminal justice system of the country. Policemen in uniform were assaulted and chased by groups of lawyers around various court complexes in the city.
By any global standard, the Indian police has produced some first-rate professionals and leaders. Almost every year, a significant number of men and women from police agencies lay down their lives in the call of duty. But India’s police forces, especially the lower rungs, have a longstanding record of notoriety.