Gap between law and justice
Recently, the central government has presented three Bills in the Lok Sabha that, if passed, will replace the existing criminal laws of the country. Although, to make real change, we must reshape the institutions in charge of criminal justice.
Reevaluating Criminal Law's Role
- Law and Order Objective: New bills aim to strengthen law and order by emphasizing the correlation between social order and criminal law enforcement.
- Limited Efficacy: Criminal law's exclusive focus on punishing individuals obscures the societal roots of crimes and its limited capacity for crime control.
- Questioning the Overhaul: The true intention behind these legislative reforms should be examined.
Criminal Law's Individualistic Approach
- Outdated Perspective: Criminal law places full responsibility for crimes on individual offenders, neglecting the impact of social circumstances.
- Environmental Factors: Research shows that social context, education, and socio-economic status significantly influence decision-making and risk management.
- Neglecting Environmental Factors: Criminal law's emphasis on individual responsibility overlooks the role of social and environmental factors in crime.
Challenges in Reforming Criminal Justice
- Symbolic Action: Governments exaggerate criminal law's ability to reduce crime, using legislative reforms for symbolic condemnation rather than substantive change.
- Power Dynamics: Criminal law can be a tool of oppression, disproportionately affecting the marginalized and vulnerable.
- Need for Comprehensive Reconfiguration: True reform requires rethinking the entire criminal justice system, including police, courts, and support services.