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Criminal Justice System: Bane and Boon

The ‘Indian Legal System’ or specifically the ‘Criminal Justice System’ of India is different sometimes in its practical implementation from its theoretical aspect. The legal system depends on so many legal principles and rules that restrict the legal system because of its nature of universality and rigidity. The ‘Rule of Law’ talks about the supremacy of law which states that there is nothing above the law and which sometimes ignores the exceptional circumstances. Also, India did not adopt a ‘sunset’ clause in its laws post-independence. The Indian Independence Act provided that all the laws there at the time of colonial rulers would continue to exist under the new system unless and until revoked by the Parliament. [1]

The Indian Criminal Justice talks about justice to victims. There are so many theories with regards to ‘Victimology’ and ‘Criminology’ in this legal scenario, but what about their implementation sometimes it appears that only the word exists. In every crime scene, justice starts with the investigation and ends with giving punishment to the culprit. This is the whole legal process and this is justice as per this system but what about the victim. This system forgets the victim and only focuses on the culprit. This is the culprit centric approach of our Criminal Justice System.

The question arises whether giving punishment to the culprit is really what the victim wants. Take an example of a rape victim who even after the rape suffers so many problems from the society and during the whole proceeding from filing a suit to the end result. There are so many rape cases that do not file about the condition of the victims. What will be the effect of retribution or the deterrent effect on the victim’s condition? Can it be able to give old life to the victim? The answer is no, it is true that it is not possible, but at least we need to think beyond this rigid and restrictive meaning of justice.[2]

If the legal system talks about the victimization then there are two sides to it. At first instance victimization of the victim, second, victimization of the culprit. It is true that sometimes the culprit also suffers during the whole process and becomes the victim of this legal system.

The legal system towards its justice delivery system exploits the culprit from the very beginning to the end result. An accused of a crime has also got some legal rights to defend himself or herself but the accused faces so many problems to reach or enforce his rights. The media trial is the biggest example of the victimization of the accused. Ignorance of the victim and the culprit centric approach of this legal system leads to the victimization of the accused.[3]

In the justice delivery system, the invisible side of victimization remains always untouched, that is the victimization of those who become victims during this process. The biggest example of this type of victimization is the ‘victimization of the whistleblowers’. They are the intermediary who helps the officials during the investigation to find out the victim. There are so many instances where the whistleblowers were murdered or mentally and physically harassed. After these instances, there is protection law for the whistleblowers regarding their identity, etc, but it goes in vain because officials ignore them. They only use them to the culprit and after that, the original victim gets the justice the culprit gets the punishment and the new victim is victimized by this legal system.

The practicality will always be different from what is written in the books or in the statutes. There is a need for reformation of the Legal System. There are so many gaps that need to be filled. The untouched sides of victimization, the question of who is the real victim, and what is justice for a victim, the answers to these emerging questions will help to reform the legal system and that will make a balance between the theory and its implementation in the legal world.[4]


  1. David and Brierley, Major Legal Systems in the World Today, pp. 10-1.

  2. Pollock, Expansion of the Common Law, 1904; Sir George Rankin, Background to Indian Law.

  3. Spotlights on Constitutional Interpretations, pp. 171-17.

  4. V. S. Deshpande, Judicial Review of Legislation, Chapter II.


Tarun Sharma is a 4th year Law student specialising in Constitutional Law, who is currently pursuing Law from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

Edited by Rudra Prasad

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