Supreme Court stays Madras High Court judgment on constitution of Criminal Justice Reforms Committee
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Supreme Court stays Madras High Court judgment on constitution of Criminal Justice Reforms Committee

Meera Emmanuel

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a judgment passed by the Madras High Court earlier this year directing the constitution of a criminal justice reforms committee.

The judgment in question was passed by Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court in April this year after he took note of the the sorry state of affairs prevailing in the Tamil Nadu when it comes to criminal justice. As noted in his judgment,

The situation calls for a thorough revamping of the Criminal Justice system in this State. It looks like the police are caught into this Vicious cycle. That shows on the poor record of convictions in serious crimes. Instead of finding a complete cure for the disease, police seem to be looking for temporary solutions without curing the disease. Unless we agree that there is a serious problem, there is no scope for change/improvement.”

The observation was made after evaluation of district-wise data concerning criminal cases, convictions and acquittals submitted by the government on the Court’s direction.

With a view to address the concerns raised, the Madras High Court had proceeded to constitute a five-member heterogenous committee to make recommendations for enhancing the quality of criminal investigation. The committee was to comprise of the following members:

  • R Nataraj, IPS DGP (Retd)
  • V Sithanan, Superintendent of Police (Retd)
  • NR Elango, Senior Advocate
  •  KV Kishore Kumar, Director, the Banyan
  • Dr M Sudhakar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anna Nagar District, Greater Chennai Police.

Further, the Committee had been expected to examine the following aspects, i.e.

  • Reforms that can be brought into practice for reformation, rehabilitation and re-integration of the convict/accused person into society; and
  • Best practices for improving the quality of investigation.

However, the Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta has now passed an order staying the judgment, stating,

There shall be stay of operation of the impugned judgment until further orders.”

Additional Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan appeared for the State of Tamil Nadu.

[Read Supreme Court Order]

SC-stay-order-Madras-HC-criminal-reforms-committee-July-2019.pdf
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