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A Poor Conviction Rate

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Jan 2018 12:00 AM GMT

There is no doubt that corrupt practices have scaled new heights in Assam, and that these practices have been condoned and allowed to continue for decades. Such practices received a strong boost during the 15-year rule of the Congress in the State under Tarun Gogoi. The fact that the erstwhile Congress regime had taken a Cabinet decision way back in 2015 to create a separate Directorate of Prosecution under Section 25(A) of the Code of Crimil Procedure, 1973, with the objective of adding more teeth to the prosecution system in the State, is still pending on paper, thereby allowing lawbreakers and crimils to go scot free. Assam has one of the weakest prosecution systems in the country with an annual conviction rate of no more than 14 to 20 per cent. As such, strengthening the prosecution wing of the crimil justice system is one of the most topmost priorities for the State. But this is not happening for several reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this is that the appointment of public prosecutors in Assam is often political and not solely based on the merit and legal acumen of those appointed. This is possibly intentiol, considering that corrupt practices are quite common among politicians and that they cannot be expected to create conditions that would jeopardize their vested interests sustained largely through corrupt practices. A welcome change to the existing order is that the strengthening of the prosecution machinery in Assam is now an issue that has acquired special significance since the last few years. This was bound to happen considering the very high level of corruption in the State administration and its fallout on the public. However, the State has yet to create a directorate of prosecution even when most of the other States of India have already done this. While we are painfully aware of the fact that the mere creation of any a new directorate to handle prosecution may not solve all problems of corruption, there is a strong need for an agency which will be totally and exclusively dedicated to tackling corruption. According to all available reports, the Tamil du model is considered the most effective to help convict crimils, and it might be desirable to follow the Tamil du model in creating a directorate to handle the prosecution of those indulging in corrupt practices.

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