Criminal Justice System

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    In News

    • The Centre approved the implementation of Phase II of the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) project by the Ministry of Home Affairs at a total cost of Rs 3,375 crore during the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

    About

    • The project will be implemented as a central sector scheme.
    • ICJS is a national platform for enabling integration of the main IT system used for delivery of Criminal Justice in the country.
    • It seeks to integrate the five pillars of the system:
      • Police (through Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network Systems),
      • e-Forensics for Forensic Labs,
      • e-Courts for Courts,
      • e-Prosecution for Public Prosecutors and
      • e-Prisons for Prisons.
    • In Phase-I of the project, individual IT systems have been implemented and stabilized even as search of records have been enabled on these systems.
    • Under Phase-II, the system is being built on the principle of ‘one data one entry’ whereby data is entered only once in one pillar and the same is then available in all other pillars without the need to re-enter the data in each pillar.
    • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be responsible for the implementation of the project in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC).
      • The project will be implemented in collaboration with the States and Union Territories. 

    Issues

    • Vital information is spread into isolated databases which are neither accessible nor integrated with other pillars, which are left groping in the dark when faced with grave crimes.
      • Ingenious criminals take advantage of this by manipulating and presenting distorted versions before the different stakeholders.
    • A person can go scot free after committing a crime by simply assuming a fake identity.
    • The worst places are victims of non-cognizable offenses or others who have to pursue their complaints in court by themselves.
      • They have a difficult task of finding the address of offenders by themselves, getting the accused persons served with summons and ensuring their appearance in court till the case culminates into a final judgment.
    • It is not possible for the police to constantly monitor the activities and whereabouts of all accused persons who are not in prison.
    • The criminal laws of India have been framed at a time when social ties were strong and every individual was known to the community.
      • At that time, a person who shifted to a different place could be tracked with the aid of relatives and other persons in localities.

    Significance of the project

    • It will be a step towards ensuring effective and modern policing.
    • The ICJS system would be made available through a dedicated and secure cloud-based infrastructure with high speed connectivity.
    • It is going to be a major leap forward by digitizing the criminal justice records and making it accessible to law enforcement agencies, laboratories and courts.
    • Justice to all: This will not only make it far more difficult for persons to escape the consequences of their actions, it will also ensure that none, either the guilty or the innocent, is forgotten and that justice is equally meted to all.
    • It will not only save time but also make the system more robust and help to track criminals, solve crimes and make India a safer place.

    Way forward

    • There is a crying need of the system to track individuals without depending upon local cues, as has been formulated in other developed countries.

    Source: IE