We all must have heard this quote, “innocent until proven guilty.” Be it in Bollywood movies, legal sitcoms, news articles or legal websites. However, the question lies around the practical applicability of this general legal principle. There are people awaiting trial who could potentially be proven innocent in future and spend their time in the same prisons as convicts.
Why do people under trial need to be in judicial custody just because the government can’t spare money and resources for more courts and judges? Potential innocent ‘aam janta’ (common people) who aren’t affluent and resourceful enough are the worst victims of our flawed judicial system.
These individuals sometimes spend years in prison waiting for their trial. It’s interesting to note that potential innocent accused under trial are kept with convicted criminals. How is our judicial system just and fair when it gives the same treatment and punishment to convicted and unconvicted?
Even someone as resourceful as Aryan Khan has to wait for almost a month to get bail after getting rejected by all lower courts even though he had no history of crime and that after hiring a former attorney general of India as his counsel. But the ‘aam janta’ is not affluent enough to hire top advocates of India. As a welfare state, the country must ensure a fair and just system for everyone.
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Our country is at a stage when we can afford to spend thousands of crore rupees on a statue or a park. However, even though we have a democracy in theory for the people, we are not spending enough for more courts, judges and other judicial reforms.
These stakeholders are instrumental in helping ‘aam’ people of India get fair representation and a just system for everyone regardless of their poor or rich, affluent celebrities or working middle class.
In India, almost 70% of prisoners are under-trial according to 2019 National Crime Records Bureau Data on prisons, many of whom could be non-guilty. Prisons are overburdened and thus mismanaged due to a lack of political intervention by any government. A lack of meaningful judicial reforms makes the non-influential ‘aam janta’ of India face the consequences.