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Chief Justice Kabir calls for reforms to speed up justice delivery system

Kolkata, April 25 (ANI): Supreme Court Chief Justice Altmas Kabir has suggested that the investigative wing of the police should be separated from other administrative jobs to expedite trials.

He was delivering a speech on ‘Reforms required for speeding up the justice delivery system, particularly with regard to criminal offences’ as part of the sesquicentennial (150th) celebrations of the Calcutta High Court.

“Investigation has to be done properly and that has to be done by proper investigators,” Chief Justice Kabir said.

“In several cases, sentence and conviction have been stayed by an appeal court and until the appeal is decided, the appellant is regarded to be innocent,” he added.

“And the person has gone on to contest Lok Sabha polls in many instances,” he said.

Stating that a person of influence tries to prolong and delay the process of justice delivery as long as possible to his or her benefit, he said the delays have to be dealt with in such matters.

Chief Justice Kabir said there were many instances where chargesheets are not filed within the stipulated time and thus the accused is granted bail.

In cases where there are multiple accused, it is difficult to get all of them to be present in courts during trial once they are out on bail for different reasons and thus inordinate delays are caused in disposal of such cases.

“There are persons with may be as many as 30 cases against them which include grave charges like 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 304 (culpable homicide) and are still out on bail, thus delaying the process,” Chief Justice Kabir said.

Observing that there has to be a nexus somewhere which facilitates such things to happen, he said “to stop this, we need separation of investigators from administrators.”

Pointing at the almost non-existent witness protection system in the country, Chief Justice Kabir said that in all practicality, if there is a delay of two to three years or more, witnesses may be approached or threatened.

“Do we have any witness protection? Hardly!” he said.

“A person will like to save his life or his family more than ensuring that somebody is convicted. This is common and natural,” he said while favouring the introduction of a proper witness protection system.

He said that time has to be minimised for stages like charge framing, witness examination and trials.

Chief Justice Kabir said that a separate directorate in police force is required for investigation of all cases.

He said that with police personnel primarily engaged in performing law and order duties, they do not have time to investigate cases.

Chief Justice Kabir also suggested minimization of procedural steps in the courts to speed up the justice delivery system.

He also advocated expansion of the alternative dispute readdressal system like Lok Adalat to reduce pressure of pending cases in the various courts in the country.

He also called for an increase in the number of of courts and judges to deal with the increasing number of litigations across the country. (ANI)