Yesterday, the central government has approved the implementation of Phase II of the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (iCJS) project by the Ministry of Home Affairs at a total cost of Rs 3,375 crore during the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

The iCJS project, under the Home Ministry, seeks to digitally link police, forensic, courts, prosecution and prisons databases – at a total cost of Rs 3,375 crore during the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26. 

The All India Bar Association has welcomed the Centre’s move to implement Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System terming that it will make the system more robust and help to track criminals, solve crimes and make India a safer place. 

In a statement, Dr. Adish C Aggarwala, Senior Advocate and Chairman of AIBA said that the long standing need of mapping individuals who have a brush with the law, is now going to be fulfiled with the revolutionary and ground-breaking Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System which is going to be implemented by Home Minsiter Amit Shah under the stewardship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

"It is going to be a major leap forward by digitizing the criminal justice records and making it accessible to law enforcement agencies, laboratories and courts. This will not only make it far more difficult for persons to escape the consequences of their actions, it will also ensure that none, either the guilty or the innocent, is forgotten and that justice is equally meted to all.” – added Dr. Adish C Aggarwala. It will not only save time but also make the system more robust and help to track criminals, solve crimes and make India a safer place, said Dr. Aggarwala, who is also former Vice Chairman of Bar Council of India.

A major lacuna in the criminal justice system, as it exists today, stems from the fact that vital information is spread into isolated databases which are neither accessible nor integrated with other pillars, which are left groping in the dark when faced with grave crimes. Ingenious criminals take advantage of this by manipulating and presenting distorted versions before the different stakeholders. In absence of an efficient system to track him, a person can go scot free after committing a crime by simply assuming a fake identity. 

A person released on bail can escape trial by simply changing his address. The worst placed are victims of non-cognizable offences or others who have to pursue their complaints in court by themselves. They have an ardous task of finding the address of offenders by themselves, getting the accused persons served with summons and ensuring their appearance in court till the case culminates into a final judgment. 

Any time during trial, the said person may escape the system by simply changing his address and not disclosing the new address. A shrewd criminal operating under different names and identities manages to hoodwink the system and it is well nigh impossible to bring such persons to justice. It is not possible for the police to constantly monitor the activities and whereabouts of all accused persons who are not in prison. The criminal laws of India have been framed at a time when social ties were strong and every individual was known to the community. At that time, a person who shifted to a different place could be tracked with the aid of relatives and other persons in localities. 

Today, this is no longer possible and, therefore, there is a crying need of the system to track individuals without depending upon local cues, as has been formulated in other developed countries.

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