Despite an increase in the number of cognisable crimes in India during 2014, the rate of conviction rose as well.
There were over 9.4 lakh cases under the IPC pending investigation at the end of 2013 (over a third from Assam, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu alone), to which 28 lakh cases registered during 2014 were added.
Cause for concern While theft accounted for the largest number of pending cases, rash driving added the most new cases in 2014. In over one lakh cases, the final police report found the complaints false; these included over 2,500 rape cases and nearly 10,000 abduction cases.
However, the largest number of cases deemed false were of cheating. At the end of 2014, the number of cases pending investigation had grown to over 10 lakh.
In all, the police filed charge sheets in nearly 80 per cent of all IPC cases deemed true. Charge-sheeting rates were high for rape (95.6 per cent) and low for theft (35.6 per cent). Among the States, the rates were the highest in Kerala (96.7 per cent), Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and the lowest in Manipur (9.9 per cent), Assam and Meghalaya. They were also high for special laws, but particularly low in the cases of the Electricity Act and the Railways Act.
At the level of courts, nearly 80 lakh cases under the IPC were pending at the end of 2013, to which 20 lakh cases were added and sent to trial during 2014. Trials were completed in over 13 lakh of these cases during 2014.
The conviction rates for the cases under the IPC rose to 45.1 % in 2014 from 40.2 % the previous year. They tend to be the highest for rash and negligent driving, and low for cruelty by husband and his relatives; attempt to rape and rape, too, have low conviction rates, which have not risen since 2013.
“You have to examine the type of cases that come before us,” an additional sessions judge in a Delhi court told The Hindu . “There may be some biased judges, but the majority would not be able to convict for the rape cases that come before us. Even in the higher courts, the acquittal is upheld,” the judge said.
Mizoram and Kerala have high conviction rates, while Bihar and West Bengal have the lowest conviction rates, at just over 10 per cent.
Even as the number of registered crimes against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes rose by nearly 20 per cent, the rate of conviction under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act remained low, at under 16 per cent.