Daily Post 1472
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Criminal Justice System comprises mainly of Police, Courts, Prisons, Prosecution and Forensic Science Laboratory. There can be some other ancillary add ons as the juvenile remand homes, finger print bureau etc. This system emanates from systems thinking which emanates from the interdependence of these parts to deliver the product or service for which it has been created. In silos we come and in silos we go but we keep talking about collaboration all our life. Before even thinking of collaboration of the higher levels, it is necessary to deal with established system as one unit. The cog in the wheel approach can work for a business enterprise but will lead to disaster in a democratic system. It is the super system of our existence and identity.
What one unit of the system can do or cannot do is evident in the both the Mumbai suicide case and the recent rape and murder case. The value of Forensic Science Laboratory is so conspicuous. Never ever this has been discussed in the public domain, how police is dependent on it and what should be exact relationship and the time lines. The FSL report can keep the country of tenterhooks. The method of collecting evidence for forensic analysis and preserving the scene of offence is the responsibility of the police. Public domain is abuzz with experts who can connect the dots which no Forensic scientist ever can. What level of camaraderie and professional interplay do we witness between the two units of the criminal justice system? What the people think of the system is equally important today.
The weak or nearly non-existent linkage between the different parts of this system is the real chink in the armour. The facts and perceptions are pitted against each other in the changed circumstances and a radically different story, suiting ones vested agenda can be created. Given the multimedia blitzkrieg; suave and juicy, can transform a diehard non-believers to an ardent follower. Hospital is an important element of the criminal justice system in cases dealing with human body but is not treated as such. Nobody knows that the quality of documentation and sometimes absence of important facts is because of lack of technical competence or legal knowledge.
The prosecution always remains on the periphery, when they have the most critical role of play. Each talk of their responsibility, super siloed and as if the criminal justice system as system does not have anything to deliver. Keeping on declaring each other’s fault can take us nowhere. There are tonnes of regulating agencies outside the criminal justice system who can call the shots. These agencies have some roles defined, it needs further clarity on their utility in furthering the goals of the criminal justice system. The media has taken up the role of each of the components of the criminal justice system and also in totality. From the ligature mark to the remand application to search and seizure and forensic analysis report now fall under media’s original jurisdiction. For the ever enlightened media, magistracy and political executive are parts of the criminal justice system.
HAS THE MEDIA FOUND ITS WELL DESERVED PLACE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?