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Bail must be the Rule rather than the Exception

The Law Commission has done well to recommend a complete overhaul in the way courts grant bail. Bail must be the rule rather than the exception, given that every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Reform in bail jurisprudence that includes fast disposal of bail applications, easier surety requirements and minimizing pretrial detention is overdue.

Inconsistency in the bail system is one of the main reasons for crowding of prisons — it is appalling that 67 per cent of the prison population is awaiting trial in India. Rightly, the Supreme Court has frowned upon the mechanical attitude towards detention.

Courts must deny bail only under three conditions. One, the person charged with the crime is likely to flee. Two, the accused is likely to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. Three, the person is likely to repeat the same crime if granted bail. The need is to protect a citizen’s right against arbitrary detention in sync with international norms.

The Law Commission has proposed a strict approach towards economic offences, saying such offences hurt the economy, growth and global competitiveness of the country.

This is correct. The Supreme Court had also said that the entire society is aggrieved if economic offenders are let off the hook. There are economic offences that merit only financial penalties but those that cause major harm to other people or to the state have to be treated with gravity. Cheating widows and orphans of their lives’ savings and pushing them into penury must be treated as serious crime, for example.

Ideally, the verdict on criminal and civil cases beyond final appeal should be delivered within two years. This calls for significant reform, quantitative and qualitative.

India has just 13 judicial posts per million people, though the Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million of the population, based on the ratio prevalent in the US in 1981. Surely, the need is to significantly increase the number of judges and courtrooms and deploy information technology-assisted, reformed procedure to deliver speedy justice.

IMPORTANT WORDS FROM ARTICLE & THEIR MEANING

1) Overhaul (ओवरहाल) - Over-haul

Meaning - analyse and improve (a system) - Verb
a thorough examination of machinery or a system, with repairs or changes made if necessary - Noun
Synonyms - improve, renew
Antonyms - break, damage
Example - The tax system has undergone a complete overhaul.

2) Detention (निरोध) - De-ten-tion

Meaning - the action of detaining someone or the state of being detained in official custody - Noun
Synonyms - restraint, custody
Antonyms - aid, freedom
Example - He was kept in detention by the police.

3) Presumed (परिकल्पित) - Pre-sumed

Meaning - suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability - Verb
Synonyms - assume, imagine
Antonyms - calculate, doubt
Example - I presumed him to be her husband.

4) Inconsistency (बेजोड़ता) - In-con-sis-tency

Meaning - the fact or state of being inconsistent - Noun
Synonyms - deviation, divergence
Antonyms - accord, agreement
Example - The program has found an inconsistency in the database files.

5) Appalling (भय उत्पन्न करनेवाला) - App-all-ing

Meaning - causing shock or dismay, horrific - Adjective
Synonyms - alarming, awful
Antonyms - beautiful, calming
Example - Her lack of manners is quite appalling.

6) Tamper (हस्तक्षेप करना) - Tam-per

Meaning - interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations - Verb
a machine or tool for tamping down earth or ballast - Noun
Synonyms - meddle, interfere
Antonyms - improve, remain
Example - Do not tamper with other's business.

7) Arbitrary (मनमाना) - Ar-bit-ary

Meaning - based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system - Adjective
(of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority - Adjective
Synonyms - random, erratic
Antonyms - logical, regular
Example - The rules seemed arbitrary and inflexible.

8) Logophobia (शब्दों का डर) - Logo-pho-bia

Meaning - an obsessive fear of words - Noun
Example (English) - There is just one cure for logophobia, and that is self-scrutiny - and to examine whether one's reaction to a given term seen in a newspaper is really justified by the true significance.
Example (Hindi) - शब्दों के डर का एक ही निवारण है, और वह है आत्म-परीक्षा और उसमें जांचना कि अखबार आदि में किसी शब्द को पढ़कर जो डर लगा या प्रतिक्रिया हुई वह सच में उस शब्द के महत्त्व के लायक है या नहीं।

Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension question, try to answer the following -

  1. Give your views on the line "India has just 13 judicial posts per million people".
  2. What is the main reason in India for crowding of prisons?

Given below are some words to check your vocabulary you can make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.

  1. Pretrial
  2. Aggrieved
  3. Norms
  4. Verdict
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