About the Centre for Criminology, Criminal Justice & Victimology (CCV)
The Centre for Criminology, Criminal Justice & Victimology (CCV) has been set up at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab for advanced research, training, policy analysis and consultancy in the areas concerning criminology, criminal justice and victimology. The Centre aims to assist and facilitate the law enforcement agencies, the bench, the bar and the academic institutions, by venturing into unexplored areas or lesser intruded aspects of the criminal justice administration.
The manner in which a society administers its criminal justice, is reflective of its efficacy towards balancing the individual liberties and the community norms. With the world mutating at a swifter pace, the time has come where the bench needs the assistance, information and guidance, as they now have to adjudicate upon delicate questions of weighing individual rights against public rights. The role of the academic institutions, the Bar and the community is crucial and central in providing content and training for upgrading and updating the information regarding administration of criminal justice. During the complete germination process of the Criminal justice system in the country, the emphasis has always been on strengthening the individual rights and limiting the powers of law enforcement agencies. There has to be a clarification about what individual rights are we mentioning, are we upholding the rights of the indigent defendants or are we uplifting and engaging the sufferer of the crime and process.
The basic source of analyzing a crime pattern in India are the police records. These police records are presumably understated for the reason that, victims may choose not to report crime or police may choose not to record the crime. This tension between the two cords of reporting and recording the crime, may trigger the pressure between safeguarding individual rights and protecting community norms. Despite the understated numbers, the crime statistics can still be relied upon, where both the crimes recorded and reported are high. The trend in the world is making a shift from police statistics to victimization surveys for determining areas of high crime propensity. The police records, as compiled by the NCRB are the major sources of information on crimes committed in India. The press, policy documents and even the working papers depend on the information and data provided by NCRB to further an understanding on patterns of crime and policy required. It is time to cross check, if the numbers in the statistic bars depict a clear picture or we need to change our data collection methodology, also do we rely on the statements given and recorded or engage in dealing with factors responsible for such deviations.
Also, in an adversarial system like ours, the role of victim is hardly envisaged, rather forgotten during the contest between the State and the accused. Though, criminal system is evolving and is a ‘living tree’ adapting itself to change, still the position of victim is sidelined. There is an urgent need to provide effective justice to the victims, by indulging in victim participation in criminal justice system, by way of compensating for sufferings as a result of crime and by providing support services ensuring recovery, rehabilitation and integration. The trust in the criminal justice system can only be built if victim narratives depict a marginal inclination from ‘legal perceptions’ to ‘people’s perception’. Till now the role played by the victim in the criminal justice administration is peripheral. The victim is only, evidence advancing tool, and not a guiding factor or participant of a system. There is no system, no policy and no direction to redress the trauma and suffering undergone. There is sheer neglect of victim’s need and interests and rather supportive approach when compared to plethora of rights assured to the person accused of an offence. In these times, the subject of victimology which indicates the vindication of the victim’s cause and methodology of rendering justice has assumed importance and relevance. It’s time to unfold the powers with rigor and determination, for the legislative and executive to reach out to victims in dire need of assistance and support. As an integral component of restorative process, there is a necessity to shift to a more participative process which may even involve a dialogue between the wrongdoer and the victim to directly apologize and take responsibility of his deeds. A confession and acceptance with repentance can heal the aggrieved souls of the victims to an extent. To assist and uplift the victims of crime, there is a need that we as a part of ‘human community ’come forward to strengthen and support the victims of crime.
The abovementioned discussions are only the lid of the Casket, much more lies within it that needs to be exposed and deliberated upon.