The LexGaze Weekly - STALWARTS

Justice V.S. Malimath

Yamika Khanna

Issue 25 | December 20, 2020

In 2003, the Justice V.S. Malimath Committee had submitted its recommendations on criminal justice reforms to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Justice V.S. Malimath, former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court and Karnataka High Court as well as the chairman of the committee.

Justice Malimath while speaking on the nature of criminal justice system and its reforms claimed that "Crime has become a profitable business because the risks involved are low. A national survey shows the conviction rate in the country is around 7 per cent. Ninety-three per cent of people get acquitted, resulting in criminals moving around without any stigma."

The task of examining the fundamental principles of criminal law to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.This involved reviewing the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.

The 158 recommendations of the committee, arrived at after examining several national systems of criminal law, especially the continental European systems, essentially propose a shift from an adversarial criminal justice system and move towards inquisitorial system. Justice Malimath stated that "Members of the (Malimath) Committee studied the criminal justice systems in the US, UK and France. We felt that our present system could be reinforced with a few adaptations from these countries."

While, the committee had proposed its recommendations over two decades ago, there has been a lack of incentive for it's incorporation in the criminal justice system. However, recently the government has acknowledged the role of the committee and the relevance of the report in rendering justice in a more accessible and effective manner. The government has showed initiative in reforming the criminal justice system by proposing to revisit the committee report proposed by Malimath Committee.

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