Rectify flaws in the criminal justice system

The Jessica Lall case has brought to the fore the inherent flaws in Sections 161 and 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Section 161 empowers the police to record the statement of a witness, during investigation, which is not to be signed by the witness in view of the bar under Section 162 of the said Code. The two sections help the police as a double-edged weapon, with unbridled power, to let off a criminal or implicate an innocent, with the judiciary remaining passive spectator in such matters.

Trial courts accept charge-sheets by the police as gospel truth, only to be rebutted during long drawn-out trials. Even the higher judiciary is reluctant to test such police statements on the touchstone of probability and rationality.

There are ample provisions in the CrPC, empowering the trial courts to discharge an accused at any stage of the trial but rarely has any court exercised such power despite sufficient grounds for such discharge.

Dear readers

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed, upto 150 words, should be sent to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29 C, Chandigarh. Letters can also be emailed at the following address: letters@tribunemail.com

— Editor-in-Chief


In fine, justice implies what the police makes it out to be. This is precisely what has happened in the Jessica Lall murder case. Till Sections 161 and 162 of CrPC are amended, the Supreme Court should rule that statements of witnesses should be recorded under Section 164 of CrPC, before a magistrate before filing the charge-sheet.

KULJIT KULKARNI, Advocate, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh


All the accused were powerful enough to circumvent the law. Political power and money played the destructive role to tame the police and gag the eyewitnesses who refused to read Hindi or feigned induced ignorance.

The police put up a disjointed and punctured prosecution to ensure that the alleged killers go scot-free. Eminent jurist Fali S. Nariman rightly said that the judge could have seen through the game and used his powers to reject their evidence outright or ask some probing questions himself.

Does the Indian law stand for punishing the weak and poor criminals? Are the high and the mighty beyond its reach? The police and the judiciary are two pillars supporting the law. If justice is maimed, there will be anarchy.

KARNAIL SINGH, Sunny Enclave (Kharar)


The editorial “Murder of justice” (Feb 24) echoes the feelings of one and all. Jessica Lall showed exemplary courage and fell at the altar of duty. It was neither a blind murder nor based on weak circumstantial evidence. The same was committed in full view of glaring lights before a gathering comprising the cream of society and senior officers, among others.

The police, in line with its usual character, played spoilsport, influenced by money and political clout of the perpetrators’ families. The cowardice on the part of the these people reveals poverty of moral courage by their failure to either grab the assassins on the spot or come forward as brave souls in support of justice as good citizens.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Lord Macaulay introduced the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in 1835. Much has changed since then. The criminal justice system should be suitably changed to ensure that no criminal goes unpunished. The errant cops must be punished for the lapses.

In the Best Bakery case, all the 21 accused were acquitted (nine since convicted by the retrial judge) after 37 of 43 witnesses had turned hostile. In the Jessica Lall case too, many witnesses behaved the same way. Following the Gujarat precedent, a Delhi sessions court has acquitted all the nine accused giving them the benefit of doubt. The court should have issued perjury notices to all the witnesses who had turned hostile.

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh


Justice is blind, it is very rightly said, if one looks at the judgement. The case went on for seven years and finally the judge, due to lack of evidence, has acquitted all the accused to be released. Isn’t it shameful? Isn’t it a mockery of law?

Jessica Lall was murdered in the presence of a number of distinguished personalities. By setting Manu Sharma, the prime accused, and five others free, the court meant that these six persons have not committed any crime. I would like to ask the lawmakers and those sitting at the helm of affairs just one question — who was the real killer of Jessica Lall?

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala


Should society accept that if the witnesses turn hostile or trick the examination in a camouflaged manner to suit the culprit, the law dispensing mechanism crumble and stand helpless? The latest judgement in the Best Bakery case with the timely intervention of the Supreme Court gives a befitting ‘No’ to such metastasis of corruption. Let us support the cause of justice.

B.M. SINGH, Amritsar

Streamline courier services

According to reports, courier companies may not be allowed to deliver letters weighing less than 500 gm. This is ridiculous. But there is a need to regulate and streamline their services. There should be fixed timings for courier delivery during week days only in residential and commercial areas.

Moreover, some courier boys are rude. They also enter the apartments without permission. They must be registered with some government agency, wear formal dress with the company badge and identity card. Above all, there is no need for us to provide our telephone numbers to them.



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