Justice Chelameswar for uniform standards in granting remission

Supreme Court Judge J. Chelameswar has called for strict enforcement of law to bring down the crime rate and emphasised the need to improve conviction rate by strengthening the infrastructure and manpower in courts in the country.

Justice Chelameswar also said there should be a uniform sentencing policy as well as standards for granting remission. At present, each State used its own discretion in granting pardon irrespective of nature of crime. “These are the matters that should be the concern of Bar Council of India and needed to be debated,” he said.

He was the chief guest at the seminar on ‘Offences against women and children and Terrorism- Challenges Ahead’ organised by the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh here on Saturday.

Referring to the tendency of Indian society to come out with knee jerk reactions when heinous incidents took place as in the case of gang rape of Delhi girl and the recent bomb blast in the State capital, Justice Chelameswar however said the causes behind the incidents needed to be analysed in depth for deterrent measures.

The demand for capital punishment, castration etc., after Nirbhaya incident were certainly at the other extreme of the spectrum. The brutality of crime in Delhi incident, recklessness displayed by the culprits shook up the society, he said.

Later speaking to reporters, he said the recklessness of culprits could be due to confidence that they could get away. “The problem is with law enforcement and poor prosecution without adequate evidence. No one has fear of law. The conviction rate in this country is about five per cent and about 20 crore cases are pending in various courts in the country. If enforcement is strict and prosecution proper, crime will be controlled with existing laws,” he added.

Even if fast track or special courts were sanctioned, if the States did not provide infrastructure, they would be of no help.

Placing the onus on the law makers for enacting strict laws, he said civil society should also generate pressure democratically on the system for strict enforcement of law. “Are we ready to disown our relatives, friends who are corrupt?” was his poser.

Mr. A. Narasimha Reddy, Chairman, Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, Justice K.C.Bhanu, Judge AP High Court spoke.