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My Suggestions in Drafting Criminal Rules of Practice in 2018

I am happy to share my suggestions in drafting Criminal Rules of practice -2018. The points I have suggested is to adopt to digital technology. We need to make the best use of technology. This means the right service needs to be in place, including the correct assisted digital support, to make sure justice is accessible to all such techniques will speed up trials and it could also result in greater ( or lesser burdensome) procedural delay. Implementing this will, of course, reduce costs. But, far more critically, it will deliver better justice.

Chapter - IV Investigation
12 -Recording of Dying Declaration:
Proposed changes in drafting Criminal Rules of Practice - 20184) The declaration should be taken down in the words of declarant as far as possible. The Magistrate should try to gather from the declarant the particulars necessary for the identification of the persons referred to in the declaration. Every question put to the declarant and every answer or sign or gesture made by him in reply shall be recorded. (5) After the declaration is recorded, it shall be read over to the declarant and his signature or thumb or finger impression obtained thereon, if possible, and then, the Magistrate shall sign the statement. (6) If the Magistrate does not know the language of the declarant, he may, if possible, engage a Translator or he shall record the same in an electronic device.
(8) After the completion of the process, the Magistrate shall make necessary entries in Judicial Form No.11.

There is no specific guideline or parameter to define the admissibility of a dying declaration; it can be verbal/ oral or written. It can be partly oral or partly written, at times it can be recorded when the declarant uses gestures or signs to give dying declaration.

Recording device should be enabled time and date options while recording dying Declaration . By doing that falsify of timing of recording evidence via paper work be curtailed material evidence / if required gesture ,sign language interpreter be called for confirmation of information. Necessity of using the time stamp in recording declaration/interrogation is clearly see in the case

United States Of America, Plaintiff, Vs Sombat Yodprasit, Defendant
(2016) Case 5:15-cr-04085-MWB In The United States District Court For The Northern District Of Iowa Western Division

Chapter-II Summonses And Warrants
5. Summonses:
Proposed changes in drafting Criminal Rules of Practice - 2018- 9) The particulars of the person examined by the Doctor, the date on which he appeared at the hospital and the number of the Wound Certificate or Accident Register or Postmortem Certificate, as the case may be, shall be mentioned, whenever possible, in the summons to medical witnesses. (10) The Court may issue summons to official witnesses through Heads of Departments in cases where their present address is not definitely known. The Court may, in such cases, issue a duplicate copy of the summons also direct to the witness either through post or through electronic communication or through the police in the address shown in the final report or complaint.

Suggestion - Doctor to be summoned sooner or later to the court if Address proof of the doctor along with Mobile number be updated in a separate form .This will help prosecuting official while calling Medical witness to appear before the court on time.

Chance of going to department heard to track the medical officer to find out address is not required and police official able to issue summon possibility of not issuing summons will be reduced to maximum .
The success of any investigation depends largely on the accuracy and detail of the about witnesses Information. With reliable information we can prevent / avoid planting stock witness by the law enforcement official.
Case law - Shingar Cinema bomb blast case. Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, H S Grewal in December 2014 while acquitting all three accused in the 2007

2) Where a Warrant of Arrest is transmitted to another court or sent to the Police by post for execution, the Head Ministerial Officer shall record the particulars of the arrest warrant in the register referred to in sub-rule (4). (7) An Officer to whom a warrant of arrest is directed shall send a report to the Court every thirty days beginning from the date of receipt of the warrant until it is executed, detailing the steps taken for executing the same. Every warrant of shall bear the following Post Script. “A report detailing the steps taken to execute the warrant should be sent every thirty days until executed.” If the warrant is not executed within a period of ninety days from the date of issuance, the Court may direct a superior officer to execute the said warrant.
Suggestion- Delayed execution of arrest warrant may jeopardize the proceedings State v. Long 2003 (STATE OF KANSAS)

75-day delay was unreasonable when the sheriff's efforts to execute the warrant were limited to inputting the warrant in the National Criminal Information Center computer without making any independent attempts to verify the defendant's address
Amending required from 90 days to 60 days
New feature to add in issuing the summons:

The high Court shall promulgate rules to facilitate the taking of testimony by telephone, audio-visual means or other electronic means.
Additional Testimony or Exhibits. If the judge considers additional testimony or exhibits, the judge must:
(i) have the testimony recorded verbatim by an electronic recording device, by a court reporter, or in writing;
(ii) have any recording or reporter’s notes transcribed, have the transcription certified as accurate, and file it;
Warrant by Telephone or Other Means. a magistrate judge may issue an arrest warrant or summons based on information communicated by telephone or other reliable electronic means.

Chapter - V Bail And Sureties
To avoid absconders of accused:
Authority attesting the vakalathnama shall certify that it has been duly executed in his presence and subscribe his signature over his name and designation.
Section -The state to follow the provisions of sections 299 and 353(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code. These provisions allow the court to conduct trial and record evidence in absence of the accused person, and to deliver final verdict too. To reduce case pendency and expedite the process of justice

Suggestion- The addressing authority must also mention address of service - Without it Genuineness of addressing authority can’t be identified at the later stage of case (if required)

Chapter VII General Instructions To All Criminal Courts
37- Material Objects to be labelled: Each material object should have, attached or affixed to it, a label to show the number of the case to which it relates and the party from whom it has been received. The label should also bear the number of the item in the property register. The label should be printed in the following form:
Property Register No. Case No. Name of the person : From whom received with address :

Suggestion - To add additional column in the address Field as permanent as well as temporary
Address. If the material received from the party partly or fully damaged - Penalty to the department that handle it. Amount to mention subject to the discretion of the valuer or amount to describe.
If cash any received to specify will be deposited in the nationalized bank

Effective Procedural Reform
Even in delay in getting the orders on the grounds of procedural lapse shaken the confidence of the people in the capacity of the courts to redress their grievances and to grant adequate and timely relief suggestion hereunder mentioned will to enhance procedural efficiency

Chapter XV
High Court

120 - Judgment and orders to be dispatched with promptness:
The Judgment or order of the High Court in, or relating to a criminal case on its file shall be certified to the lower Courts with the least possible delay.
Suggestion - In paragraph 120 after “With the least possible delay”
substitute “10 days ”,
Days should be specific within orders to be dispatched to the lower Court.

Chapter - XX
Supervision Of Subordinate Criminal Courts & And Annual Inspection

184- Inspection of Courts by Chief Judicial Magistrates and Judicial Magistrates:
Reports of the inspection should be submitted to the High Court by the Chief Judicial Magistrate concerned/the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, in Administrative Form Nos.52 and 60 respectively, with the least practicable delay.
Suggestion - In paragraph 184 after “With the least possible delay”
Substitute “10 days ”,
Days should be specific, that will lower procedural delay.

Chapter - XXII Certified Copies
206 -Return of defective applications:
Striking off of defective applications: When applications are returned for rectification of defects, a limit of seven days shall be fixed for their re-presentation. Defective applications which are not taken back by the parties or not represented within the period specified above, shall be struck off by the Head Ministerial Officer.

Suggestion- Seven days be replaced with 3 days

I have endeavoured to show that information technology is now a tool essential for modernisation of a judiciary or judicial system.

I have humbly suggested these above suggestions in order to have better use of technology to take full benefit of what Information Technology offers.

As Carr J put it recently in Su-Ling v Goldman Sachs International when setting out the principles to be derived from, amongst others, Mitchell ‘The achievement of justice means something different now. Parties can no longer expect indulgence if they fail to comply with their procedural obligations because those obligations not only serve the purpose of ensuring that they conduct the litigation proportionately in order to ensure their own costs are kept within proportionate bounds but also the wider public interest of ensuring that other litigants can obtain justice efficiently and proportionately, and that the courts enable them to do so. [2015] EWHC 759 (Comm) at [38]

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