Softpedaling Criminals

criminalsFreeing hardcore criminals before their punishment schedule goes off is currently the world fashion. From Guantanamo Bay to India, governments are tuned into release criminals. The most pressing problem is human rights. In the Gutanamo Bay the American troops have crossed all limits and tortured the detainees below all human methods. In the seven years of Bay there were four suicides, hunger strikes an innumerable complains about third grade tortures. This has created anger among the public on the American government. That is the reason Barack Obama had issued his first presidential order to close the infamous Bay in next one year and stop all sorts of punishment execution for next 120 days.



“The guiding principles for closing the center should be protecting our national security, respecting the Geneva Conventions and the rule of law, and respecting the existing institutions of justice in this country. I also believe we should revitalize efforts to transfer detainees to their countries of origin or other countries whenever that would be consistent with these principles. Closing this center and satisfying these principles will take tie and is the work of many departments and agencies.” Said Admiral Blair in a statement


Obama wants to close all the secret camps of USA. The order disarms CIA from torturing detainees and takes away its boundless powers.  He may want to convey the humane angle of his personality. But this has caught the minds of other countries rulers too. One can feel that there is a swing on the extreme right- from torture to total freedom for the criminals. This does not augur well for the smooth going of society. Punishments are necessary to control crime.


In India the criminal procedure code (Crpc) got amended without much discussion in the Lok Sabha. The new amendments are soft on the criminals. Jag Suraiya writes in The Times of India (21.1.2009) “Who says the law is an ass? If you’re a criminal, or a would-be criminal, in India the law is a gas. And it just gassier. On December 23, 2008, the Lok Sabha gave criminality a Christmas bonaza by passing a radically amended Criminal Procedure Code Bill – along with seven other Bills all of which were passed within a mere 17 minutes without any time-wasting frivolities such as debate and discussion – which, in effect, prevents law enforcement authorities from arresting someone who has committed a crime which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years.”


For false way of safeguarding human rights the government should not sacrificing its prime duty of steering a crime minimal society. One reason for this new amendment to relax detention rules may be the overflowing number of prisoners and exorbitant cost in maintaining them. Again there was no fair play in the detention. For petty crime of spitting pan on the enemy’s face a man was jailed for 2 years. This is another extreme way of punishment. At present 30 million cases are pending in India’s courts. Naturally the undertrials are growing in the jails.

Maharastra            15,784

Madhy Pradesh      15,777

The 1,140 central, district and sub jails with total capacity of 2,33,543, currently house 3,26,519 inmates of which as many as 66.7 per cent are undertrials. Each prisoner, convict or undertrial costs the taxpayer an average of Rs.11,901.30 (2003-04) figures per annum in maintenance.


The government of India should apply logic and understand the consequences of the relaxation given to the hardcore criminals. While improving the policing and legal mindsets it should be tough on crime. Already innumerable loopholes block the law enforcing authorities in swiftly punishing the criminals. This is what happens if the government over centralizes its administration. Criminal justice is the core area of governance. Can we say the Indian forefathers were visionaries to enforce village level justice system. If we modernized the village legal systems without completely destroying it India may not have to come to the stage where justice takes four decades to come.