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Government to revisit Malimath report on criminal justice system

The Committee also suggested constituting a National Judicial Commission and amending Article 124 to make impeachment of judges less difficult.  

A 2003 report of a Committee on reforms in the criminal justice system that recommended admissibility of confessions made before a police officer as evidence in a court of law is being revisited by the Centre, a senior government official said.

The Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, or the Justice Malimath Committee, was constituted by the Home Ministry in 2000 by then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who also held the Home portfolio. It was headed by Justice V.S. Malimath, former Chief Justice of the Karnataka and Kerala High Courts.

 

The Commitee’s report was discussed at the annual Directors General of Police (DGP) conference held at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh earlier this month at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present.

Mr. Modi attended the presentation made by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DG R.K Pachnanda on the Committee’s recommendations. Senior police officers also briefed the Prime Minister on internal security.

Asked if the government would implement the recommendations, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, “Consultations will be held with the Law Ministry. Home Ministry cannot implement the report on its own.”

The Malimath panel had made 158 recommendations but these were never implemented. The subsequent UPA governments from 2004-2014 did not act on the report either.

Also read: Revamping the criminal justice system

Judges’ impeachent

The Committee also suggested constituting a National Judicial Commission and amending Article 124 to make impeachment of judges less difficult.

“The Committee however, feels that the aberrations in the conduct of judges can be checked or even corrected if the problem is noticed at the earliest and efforts made to correct them.

In the High Court, the Chief Justice is regarded as only the first among the equals. Except constituting benches and assigning work, he does not exercise any authority over his colleagues. This has considerably eroded discipline which is so necessary for any institution,” the Committee had said.

It had suggested that Section 54 of Evidence Act be substituted by a provision to the effect that in criminal cases, evidence of bad character and antecedents is relevant. “Just as evidence of good character of the accused is relevant, evidence regarding bad character of the accused should also be relevant. There is no good reason why evidence regarding bad character of the accused should be made relevant only when evidence is led about his good character. This is quite illogical and irrational,” the report had said.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 6:08:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-to-revisit-malimath-report/article22452298.ece

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