Low rate of conviction making people lose faith in judiciary: CJ

FINER POINTS: Home Minister M.P. Prakash (second from right) having a word with Director of Prosecutions Sadashivamurthy (right) at a conference of Prosecuting Officers in Bangalore on Saturday. Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Cyriac Joseph is with them. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Cyriac Joseph on Saturday said that people have lost confidence in the criminal justice system because of the embarrassing low rate of conviction and delay in concluding criminal proceedings.

He was speaking at the eighth two-day conference of Prosecuting Officers organised by the Karnataka State Prosecuting Officers' Association.

He recalled that the Government Order on forming a committee under Justice Malimath to go into the criminal justice system showed the low confidence of the people in it and he was only quoting it. Reacting to a memorandum submitted to him by the association, he said the demands were "small and very little". "Unlike the Chief Minister, I cannot make any comment in public on them but I assure you that I will look into it," he said.

He said the criminal justice system would function effectively only if all the agencies concerned, the judiciary, the police personnel and the prosecution, functioned effectively. The present system was undergoing a change and prosecutors could not close their eyes to it. One such change the trend for victim-oriented justice where the victim wanted to be a part of the proceedings and where he wanted to be compensated by the criminal court for the hurt he had suffered.

Unlike earlier occasions, the Chief Justice this time read out from a prepared speech and exhorted the public prosecutors to discharge their duties faithfully and sincerely. He said the prosecutors were more sinned against and people blamed them if a case was lost and if a trial got delayed.

Agreeing that defects in the police investigation of a criminal case and pressure of work did lead to acquittals, he said sometimes lack of interest shown by prosecutors led to acquittals.

He said like the politicians who were blamed for everything prosecutors to had become the "beating drums" for society to express its ire.

Home Minister M.P. Prakash said he agreed with the Chief Justice that remarks were deliberately misquoted or "twisted" by certain section of the media and some people to suit their needs.

Association president Chandrashekar Hiremath spoke.

Justice A.S. Kabbin, Director of Prosecutions Sadashiva Murthy, the former State Public Prosecutor H.S. Chandramouli, and Principal Secretary to Home Department Vatsala Watsa were present.