Chapter – 6 Understanding Our Criminal Justice System
Answer the following questions:
Q.No. 1) What is the Role of the Police in Investigating a Crime?
The role of the police in investigating a crime can be described in the following steps –
- After the commission of a crime, the police record the statements of witnesses and collect different kinds of evidence.
- On the basis of the investigation, the police are required to form an opinion, whether the person is guilty or not.
- If the police think that the evidence points to the guilt of the accused person, then they file a charge-sheet in the court.
But there are some guidelines that are laid down by the Supreme Court that the police must follow at the time of arrest, detention and interrogation. Such as –
- The police are not allowed to torture or beat or shoot anyone during an investigation.
- They cannot inflict any form of punishment on a person even for petty offences
Q.No. 2) What is the Role of the Public Prosecutor?
The role of the public prosecutor –
- The role of the Public Prosecutor begins once the police has conducted the investigation and filed the charge-sheet in the court.
- He/she has no role to play in the investigation.
- They represent the interests of the State in the court.
- The Prosecutor must conduct the prosecution on behalf of the State.
- As an officer of the court, it is his/ her duty to act impartially and present the full and material facts, witnesses and evidence before the court to enable the court to decide the case.
Q.No. 3) What is the Role of the Judge?
The role of the judge is –
- He conducts the trial impartially and in an open court.
- The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the prosecution and the defence.
- The judge decides whether the accused person is guilty or innocent on the basis of the evidence presented and in accordance with the law.
- If the accused is convicted, then the judge pronounces the sentence.
- He may send the person to jail or impose a fine or both, depending on what the law prescribes.
Q.No. 4) What is the role of the defence lawyer in a trial?
The role of the defence lawyer is to represent the accused person in court. They are generally hired by the accused by himself/herself, otherwise, the court would provide a defence lawyer to the accused person at the Government’s expense.
Q.No. 5) What is an open court?
A court in which the public is allowed to attend the trial is called an open trial.
In this court, the trial is conducted in presence of the accused, the complainant, and the witnesses from both sides. All the other people who are interested in the case are allowed to attend the trial.
Q.No. 6) How does the articles 21, 22, and 39A help in carrying on the legal procedure in just and fair way?
Article 21 of the Constitution that guarantees the Right to Life states that a person’s life or liberty can be taken away only by following a reasonable and just legal procedure. A fair trial ensures that Article 21 of the Constitution is upheld.
According to Article 22 of the Constitution, every person has a Fundamental Right to be defended by a lawyer.
Article 39A of the Constitution places a duty upon the State to provide a lawyer to any citizen who is unable to engage one due to poverty or other disability.
Q.No. 7) What is an FIR?
Whenever a person gives information about a cognizable offence, it is compulsory for an officer in charge of a police station to register an FIR (First Information Report). It is with the registration of an FIR that the police can begin their investigations into a crime. This information can be given to the police either orally or in writing. There is a prescribed form in which the police register an FIR.
The following informations are usually registered in an FIR –
- the date, time and place of the offence, details the basic facts of the offence, including a description of the events.
- If known, the identity of the accused persons and witnesses is also mentioned.
- The FIR also states the name and address of the complainant.
- The sign of the complainant.
The complainant also has the legal right to get a free copy of the FIR from the police.
Q.No. 8) What are the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Article 22 to the arrested person?
Article 22 of the Constitution and criminal law guarantee to every arrested person the following Fundamental Rights:
• The Right to be informed at the time of arrest of the offence for which the person is being arrested.
• The Right to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
• The Right not to be ill-treated or tortured during arrest or in custody.
• Confessions made in police custody cannot be used as evidence against the accused.
• A boy under 15 years of age and women cannot be called to the police station only for questioning.
Q.No. 9) What is D.K.Basu guidelines?
The Supreme Court of India has laid down specific requirements and procedures that the police and other agencies have to follow for the arrest, detention and interrogation of any person. These are known as the D.K. Basu Guidelines and some of these include:
• The police officials who carry out the arrest or interrogation should wear clear, accurate and visible identification and name tags with their designations;
• A memo of arrest should be prepared at the time of arrest and should include the time and date of arrest. It should also be attested by at least one witness which could include a family member of the person arrested. The arrest memo should be counter-signed by the person arrested.
• The person arrested, detained or being interrogated has a right to inform a relative, friend or well-wisher.
• When a friend or relative lives outside the district, the time, place of arrest and venue of custody must be notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest.
Q.No. 10) What is a Fair Trial?
For a trial to be called fair, the trial has to be conducted in the following way –
- Firstly, the accused should be given a copy of the charge-sheet and all other evidence that the prosecution presented against him/her.
- The trial should be held in an open court, in public view.
- The trial was held in the presence of the accused.
- The accused should be defended by a lawyer.
- A Defence lawyer to be provided to those by the court who are unable to afford any lawyer.
- The defence lawyer should be given the opportunity to cross-examine all the prosecution witnesses.
- The defence lawyer should be given an opportunity to present witnesses in the accused’s defence.
A fair trial ensures that Article 21 of the Constitution is upheld.
Q.No. 11) Why is the case against Shanti called ‘State vs Shanti Hembram’ and not Mrs Shinde vs Shanti Hembram?
A criminal offence is considered to have been committed not only against the affected victims but against society as a whole.
In this case, the offence is considered against the whole state not only against the individual Mrs Shinde, the complainant. So, the case against Shanti is called ‘State vs Shanti Hembram’ and not Mrs Shinde vs Shanti Hembram.
Q.No. 12) Do Shanti got the fair trial in the case ‘State vs Shanti Hembram’? If yes, explain it.
Yes, Shanti got a fair trial. This can be explained as follows –
- Firstly, Shanti was given a copy of the charge -sheet and all other evidence that the prosecution presented against her.
- The trial was held in an open court, in public view.
- Her brother, Sushil could attend the court hearings.
- The trial was held in the presence of the accused(Shanti).
- Shanti was defended by a lawyer.
- Shanti’s lawyer, Advocate Roy was given an opportunity to cross-examine all the prosecution witnesses.
- Advocate Roy was given an opportunity to present witnesses in Shanti’s defence.
Q.No. 13) Why is a criminal offence regarded as a public wrong?
A criminal offence is considered to have been committed not only against the affected victims but against society as a whole. So it is considered as the public wrong.
Q.No. 14) Why do you think there is a rule that confessions made during police custody cannot be used as evidence against the accused?
Because the accused may be threatened or forced to confess the guilt. Sometimes in fear of having more severe punishment they make confessions.