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‘Plea bargaining can save the accused’

Correspondent

However, they should not have committed a severe offence



The accused person and complainant can work out mutually

It received President’s consent two years ago



CUTTACK: More than four crore cases are pending disposal in different courts of India. Some of these cases are almost 30 years old and many under trial prisoners are languishing in jails for around ten years without being tried.

And to cap it all nearly 7000 courts are now required to dispose the backlog.

These are some of the hard realities, the Indian judiciary is now facing.



Golden chance

In the given situation, “plea bargaining” seems to be the only panacea left to bail out from this situation. Leading luminaries of judiciary, including judges from Supreme Court and several High Courts, law ministers and judicial officers at a national seminar held here on Sunday were of the firm opinion that plea-bargaining concept as enshrined in Criminal Law (Amendment) Act-2005 and which received President’s assent about two years ago should be given necessary impetus.

Plea-bargaining is an opportunity to an accused person who voluntarily comes forward to discuss with the complainant and work out a strategy for mutually satisfactory disposition of the case under the court’s supervision.

But the accused person should not have committed an offence that invites death penalty, life imprisonment or of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years.

The alleged offence should not also affect the socio-economic condition of the country or has been committed against a woman or a child below the age of 14 years.

Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj attending the seminar welcomed the concept but warned that it would not achieve the same success as that of Western countries. “Criminal justice system in India is unique and the justice delivery system in our country is different from others”, he said.

Speedy disposal

Orissa Law Minister B.B. Harichandan stressed the need for paving way to popularize the concept of “plea bargaining” for it would effectively reduce the pending cases in the state.

Particularly, the under trial prisoners would be greatly benefited by this modern alternate dispute redressal system.

Harichandan, said at the seminar organized jointly by the Orissa chapter of Indian Law Institute and Orissa Judicial Academy.

Justice Arijit Pasayat of Supreme Court also expressed similar views saying plea-bargaining would save time and money of the courts and there would be speedy disposal of cases.

Chief Justice of Orissa High Court A K Ganguly said plea-bargaining has several benefits.

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