• Legis Scriptor

Criminal Justice and Criminal Reform

Authored by Hitika Arora

Keywords : Criminal justice, Criminal Reform, Law enforcement, Rehabilitation, Ineffectiveness, Criminal Jurisprudence


The Criminal Justice System is surrounded by a series of institution, organizations and process is set by the government to restrain crime in the nation. It comprises of Police, courts and other law enforcement agencies. The criminal laws and criminal procedure are in the concurrent list in the schedule VII of the Indian constitution.


Criminal justice is the carriage of justice to those who have committed offenses. The Criminal Justice System includes the government agencies and organizations. The goal or purpose of this is re-education or you can say rehabilitation of offender, suppress other crimes and moral support for victims. The primary institution of the criminal justice system are the Police, Criminal Lawyers, the Courts and Jails. These three distinct agencies in the criminal justice system run together as the primary means of maintaining the rule of law in the society.

1. Law Enforcement - The first contact a criminal has with the Criminal justice system is usually with the Law enforcement (Police) who inspects the suspected wrongdoer and makes an arrest. But if the suspect is a threat to the nation, a national level enforcement agency is called in. Police primary concern is keeping peace in the society and enforcing law based on the suspect and jurisdiction.

2. Courts- The courts serve as the place where disputes are redressed and justice is administered. The courts include the judge, prosecutor and the defense attorney.

3. Corrections and Rehabilitation- Criminals are then send over to the rehabilitation or the correctional authorities, from the court after the offender has been found guilty. A new goal of prison punishments is to provide offenders a possibility to be rehabilitated many modern prisons offering schooling or job training to criminals as a possibility to learn a vocation and there have a licit living when they return to their life.

Criminal Reforms

Criminal Justice Reform basically means aiming for fixing perceived wrongs in the criminal justice system. Their goals are leading the movement for criminal reform. The codification of criminal laws was done during the British rule, which more or less remains the same even now. The chief architect of codification of the Criminal Laws was Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay. Criminal Law in India is governed by Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act, 1862, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. There are lot of areas which requires reforms. Some of them are:

Colonial Era Laws: The Criminal Justice System is exactly same of the British colonial law, which was made with the goal of ruling the nation and not serving the citizens.

Ineffectiveness: The purpose of criminal justice system was to protect the rights of the genuine people and punish the criminals, but now it is just a tool of harassment of common people.

There are a number of huge under trials cases. According, to the survey of India 2015 67.2% of our total prison population comprises under trial prisoners. The delivery of justice fugues when corruption and huge workload of police tampers the investigation. There is a lot in criminal justice that can be reformed. Some suggestions for reforms .

Criminal law is referred to be the evident appearance of the relationship between the state and its citizens. Therefore, the reformation of Criminal justice system of India needs to be done by keeping several principles in stand. The formation of new offenses or crimes and again working of the present categorization of offences which should be done by the principles of Criminal Jurisprudence with changes in the past four decades. The reasons for victimization probably to be a vital push in the reforming laws to recognize the Rights of Offender. The discretion of judges in deciding the sentence based on the crimes. Crime is based on the similar nature should be based on the principles of judicial precedents. And Lastly, guiding principles requires to be evolved, obviously, after debate between the experts.

And further, for that a five- member committee recently was formed for Reforms in Criminal law was been set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs at National Law University (Delhi). The directive of the committee was to recommend reforms in the Criminal Laws of the country in a discipline, effective and efficient manners, which ensures the welfare, security and safety of an individual, society and the nation. But the committee was highly criticized across the nation. The Composition of the committee, its procedure and timeframe, have also been acquired by the law fraternity across the country with not liking, with suspicion and discomfort. The Bar Council of Delhi was the first to raise an objection on this. The lack of diversity in composition of the committee and lack of clarity on the objective that is the reforms and amendments and inadequacy of the time frame. These all lead to huge disapproval from the nation. Criminal laws have a direct impact on the public. Therefore, the addition of new offenses and withdrawal of the present classification of offences should be influenced by the principles of Criminal Jurisprudence. The effective principle of the Criminal Justice system needs reforms and it can be done by debating with all sections of the society.


Criminal Justice system in India at present is in a state of uncertainty and its mostly unpopular due to its inefficiency. Clearly, the Reforms in Criminal Justice system are a need of the hour. The Government of India needs to come up with a clear Policy that can reform the Changes in the Indian Penal code and Code of Criminal Procedure and Indian Evidence Act. The Reforms should not only make Criminal and Justice system more efficient and feasible but also be sensitive and responsible to both the innocent of the society and the needs of the Law Enforcing Officer.