I write in DNA on the PSF (Passenger Service Fair), terrorism and the urgent need for judicial and police reforms in India. Read the full version of the article here.
To create a sense of security for her citizens, India has to implement Police Reforms.
“If you cannot eliminate the source of terror, the next best option is to mitigate its flow to India. Newer institutional structures like the NCTC, Natgrid and NIA can help but even they are not sufficient. There is no spigot which works only for terrorism. Terrorism flows in the same pipes which are used by other criminal activities. If you can get a mobile SIM card activated on a false ID for your classmate, so can someone else, even terrorists. It is the whole ecosystem of casual criminal behavior. The supply chain which allows the neighbourhood shop to give you the latest pirated video game for Rs 200 can be easily used by the terrorists to move explosives and timers. Unless you close the tap of crime completely, you will have terrorism coming through the same pipeline. You can’t target terrorism in isolation. To succeed, the whole system of governance, particularly our criminal justice system, needs to be reformed.
There are two components of the criminal justice system that demand immediate reforms– the judiciary and the police. Not only is our legal system dated, the judiciary itself suffers from a multiple shortfalls. At present there are more than three crore pending cases in various courts. Consequently, 67 percent of inmates across prisons are now undertrials. For the few cases that are decided, the rate of conviction remains abysmally low. The answer lies in speeding up litigation. The archaic methods of handling these cases can’t continue any longer. Only by incorporating modern technology, replacing paperwork and removing multiple bureaucratic barriers can the judiciary restore its credibility and supremacy.”
This piece was first published in DNA on 22 August, 2013. I am grateful to some of my colleagues at the Takshashila Institution for reviewing this piece prior to publication.