INDIA.Jaipur: Chief Justice NV Ramana said Political opposition turning into political hostility is not a sign of a healthy democracy.
Speaking at an event at the Rajasthan Assembly by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA),the CJI further noted that there should be some mutual respect among the political leaders. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and various senior judges of the Supreme Court were also present at the event.
Justice Ramana further said, “The mutual respect which used to exist between the government and the opposition is now diminishing. The mutual respect which used to exist between the government and the opposition is now diminishing.”
The CJI also pointed out that almost 80 per cent of the country’s total 6,10,000 prisoners are undertrials, but stressed the need to increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system. He called for a holistic action plan to increase the effectiveness of the administration of the criminal justice system.
He also urged the need to carefully study the issue of long-term imprisonment of large numbers of people without any trial. The CJI said that the aim should not be limited to allowing prisoners to be released early on trial, but that “We should question the practices that lead to so long imprisonment without trial.”
Not naming any particular case, he was surely pointing out some recent mishaps like that of Mohammad Zubair of Alt News and Actor Ketaki Chitale from Maharashtra. He called India’s criminal justice system a “punishment” for the people of India.
The issues of “Hasty and indiscriminate arrests, difficulty in obtaining bail, and prolonged incarceration of under trials” were marked “urgent” by The CJI on Saturday.
Zubair has been under arrest since late last month over a 2018 tweet that was used to file a largely multi-venue case against him. And Chitale spent 39 days locked up for social media comments allegedly directed at veteran politician Sharad Pawar before being last released month.
“The challenges are huge. In our criminal justice system, the process is the punishment. From hasty, indiscriminate arrests, to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to the prolonged incarceration of under trials needs urgent attention,” he said in his address.
“We need a holistic plan of action, to increase the efficiency of the administration of criminal justice. Training and sensitization of the police and modernization of the prison system is one facet of improving the administration of criminal justice,” Justice Ramana said.
“NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) and legal service authorities need to focus on the above issues to determine how best they can help,” he added.
The Chief Justice’s comments underlined a recent call by the Supreme Court to the centre to consider framing a ‘Bail Act’ to streamline the early release of prisoners.