Guest Post by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S.)
People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
Invites You to a Convention on
Degradation of Criminal Justice System
A fair, transparent and functional criminal justice system is essential for any democracy. It is necessary for the basic security of citizens, and also for creating conditions under which citizens can live a life of freedom. Unfortunately India’s criminal justice system has been undergoing a prolonged process of corruption by dominant class and caste interests. Rather than upholding justice in a fair and symmetric manner, it is often seen to be working for the powerful and the rich. After the victory of the BJP in the general elections of 2014, the communal manipulation of institutions of justice and police has been intensified. Within weeks of the election, selective leaks were made to derail Gopal Subramanium’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Earlier this year Public Prosecutor Ms Rohini Salian revealed that she was pressurized to soften the case against members of Hindutva terror groups accused in the Malegaon blast. Retired Sessions Judge Jyotsana Yagnik, who convicted Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case was targeted with threatening phone calls and letters. Prosecution witnesses in several such cases, including the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case, have been changing their statements. Such incidents indicate a systematic political attempt to undermine the autonomous functioning of the criminal justice system by pressurizing or otherwise influencing the police, investigating agencies, public prosecution and the judiciary.
Why is there such a big gap between the liberal and social-democratic promises of the Constitution of India and the reality of the criminal justice system? What specific dangers do the majoritarian and authoritarian politics of the Hindutva forces present to this system? How can democratic forces counter this process of degradation? The Convention is a means of starting a long-term debate and a program of advocacy for an impartial system of criminal justice.
Dec 12-13, 2015
Gandhi Peace Foundation, D. D. U. Marg, New Delhi
Guest Post by Anuja Agrawal
The recent reports regarding the findings of the Death Penalty Project of the National Law University, Delhi, confirm some of the worst fears we have about our criminal justice system: the system is exceedingly tilted against the interests of the poor, disadvantaged and the marginal while the rich and the advantaged often get away, literally, with murder. The results are very important as such systematic studies help in confirming what are often vague impressions and unconfirmed suspicions.
While this study focuses only on the convicts on death row, what we urgently need is data which give us a caste and community wise breakup of the incarcerated population as a whole. While some may think that this would be useful in establishing the ‘criminality’ of some social groups, in fact this data, when juxtaposed with degrees of conviction, will help in establishing not only the conditions in which people take to criminal activities but also how our system is systematically biased towards particular groups.
Continue reading Who gets caught – From death row convicts to ‘criminals by birth’: Anuja Agrawal