BIHAR’S CONVICTION RATE GOES DOWN

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Dec 2017 10:25:57


“Compared to Kerala, where the conviction rate is reportedly as high as 77 per cent, Bihar’s figure of conviction rate has declined in year 2016 in comparison to last years. This certainly is an area of concern, especially when a Government upholds the agenda of good governance and tries to commit itself to usher in development and prosperity,” feels State Editor of MP Editions of The Hitavada Anshuman Bhargava

The Bihar Government needs to see that best prosecutors are empanelled and appointed so that they succeed in bringing the culprits to book and deliver justice to the victims. It is not so much of high-tech equipment we need. What we need more is effective monitoring, quick action against the guilty, adequate funding and infrastructure and honest appointments and appraisals.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recently expressed concern over the decline in conviction rate for crimes and asked officials to expedite the process of speedy trial to achieve the desired results as in the past. On his assuming power of Bihar for the first time in 2005, Kumar had successfully used the process of speedy trial to expedite conviction rate for crimes as an effective measure to control law and order in the State. He was emphasising the same successful weapon to control crimes while addressing a day-long seminar on “Effective Investigation, Speedy Trial and Timely Justice” organised by the Home Department in association with Bihar Judicial Academy, which was attended by High Court Judges, top civil and police officials among others in the State capital Patna recently.

Kumar assured the gathering that the Government was ready to make any investment to achieve the goal of speedy trial and conviction, be it the use of technology such as video conferencing or creation of posts. Kumar suggested that Bihar Judicial Academy should hold a training programme for superintendents of police but it should also come out with short-term training course of one or two or three days for sub-inspectors engaged in investigation work. He also asked public prosecutors to argue their cases in an effective manner so that they don’t weaken the premise and the verdict goes in favour of the criminals. In 2006, the total number of convicts was 6,839 followed by 9,853 convictions in 2007, 12,007 in 2008, 13,146 in 2009 and 14,311 in 2010. But, after that decline has been witnessed in the conviction rate so much so that in 2016, it came down to a meagre 5,508 convictions.

Compared to Kerala, where the conviction rate is reportedly as high as 77 per cent, Bihar’s figure of conviction rate has declined in year 2016 in comparison to last years. This certainly is an area of concern, especially when a Government upholds the agenda of good governance and tries to commit itself to usher in development and prosperity. The higher conviction rate is a direct reflection of better legal and policing system and vice versa. The two areas that need special attention is police sensitivity and efficiency in handling probes and cases and the honesty and effectiveness of the lawyers who the Government appoints as its prosecutor. In both these areas, there are glaring lapses and nefarious linkages that bring disrepute to the system and abet criminal activities.

The problem is that once these prime coordinates or pillars of the social justice system get lax or are given the leeway, they lapse into a work culture out of which it gets very difficult to pull them out. Then the downfall is rapid and the trajectory regressive. It was Nitish Kumar’s early hard work and vision that had propped up the mandarins to act fast and act smart. Nitish’s constant prodding and monitoring had turned things around for Bihar. But with various changing political equations and permutations in between the system sagged. The direct effect was, criminal elements started roaming free. The police fell back to their own lethargic, who-cares attitude while incompetent public prosecutors continued to weaken cases, which indirectly helped to save the criminal elements.

It was thus important at this time for the Chief Minister to send the message through that he was aware and concerned of the state of affairs and those responsible must pull up their socks and get back to action mode. The clear message behind the CM’s sugar-coated words is that ‘I want to see a rise in the conviction rate.’ That’s the long and short of it. Now the ball has been tacitly pushed into the court of the police and the judiciary to bring things back to shape. Nitish is an astute politician who doesn’t talk much but doesn’t mince his words either. He is sharp, calls a spade a spade and thinks ahead of his times. The world knows him this way. Therefore when he says something this serious it carries weight and means that he is not going to leave it soon. He doesn’t need many words to convey what he is thinking and going to do. This alacrity of the CM is good news for Bihar.

Barring few patches of political blunders of sorts that Nitish has committed, he has been a favoured and most successful CM of Bihar who has a national following as a no-nonsense man. In his long tenure as the CM of one of the most backward States, left in tatters by the previous dispensations, he has worked excessively hard to bring about a change not only in the life of the people but also the perception that the State carried.

Today Bihar is seen as a land of hope and people who had left the State are coming back to embrace the newfound prosperity. Nitish has been a lone and dogged crusader against corruption and crime and the elimination of these two to a large extent has been seminally instrumental in changing the face of Bihar. The State has been liberated from the dark shadows of backwardness by the magic wand of Nitish. He would certainly want to carry his good work forward because a lot still needs to be done and no one knows this better than the man himself. The police system has to be spruced up without delay. It is the police who first register and probe a case. If they botch it up or try to shield a criminal, the whole course of action gets skewed and derailed. This is where all the corruption and mishap happens. If Nitish controls this area well, he is halfway through his job. The ground level cops need to be sensitised and equipped so that no one who is guilty gets an undue advantage of the loopholes. They are the prime links in the change of investigation.

The Government needs to see that the best prosecutors are empanelled and appointed so that they succeed in bringing the culprits to book and deliver justice to the victims. It is not so much of high-tech equipment we need. What we need more is effective monitoring, quick action against the guilty, adequate funding and infrastructure and fair and honest appointments and appraisals. If Nitish Kumar directs his attention towards these, which he surely will, we are having one of the best States of the country in the making. Bihar has everything it takes to propel it towards exceptional growth. It only needs an efficient and noble administrator. Nitish Kumar is cut out for the job. There is no better leader around in Bihar who could turn round the fortunes of the historical state.