In almost all cases the courts keep on giving the date after dates even before the actual hearing begins. The accused has to spend almost the whole day in the court premises as he doesn’t know when his case will be announced. Every month once or twice his attendance is mandatory before the judge or else bailable or non-bailable warrant is issued. The workload on the police those distribute right from summons to execute NBW’s is immense.
Making it mandatory to attend every date was because the legal machinery feared that the accused may go absconding to avoid the trial. A criminal case takes about three to ten years to stand for trial and then hearing too is prolonged so much so that another few years are wasted in absence of the hearing on every given date before the verdict is delivered.
The basic principle of the law is no one is criminal unless he is proven so beyond all reasonable doubts. Many accused has to spend some time in jail under the pretext of Judicial Custody. The period of judicial custody to the undertrial may prolong sometimes to years, so much so that it encompasses the jailing term beyond the maximum term he could have spent in the jail if proven guilty. Judicial custody is nothing but illegal imprisoning and punishing an accused even before he is convicted or even charge sheeted. We, as a citizen of a democratic country, hardly have given any thought to this punishment to the possible innocents.
The date system too is another punishment where he has to compulsorily attend every date for years, every month, to waste a day and suffer monetary loss till he is convicted or discharged of the crime.
Another aspect of the dating system is wastage of the time of the judges in checking the presence and allotting the next dates. Two to three hours of working time of a judge goes waste in this exercise. He could spend this valuable time to dispose of the pending cases by proper hearing. This can expedite speedy justice and lesser trouble to the accused. This also can help reduce the huge load of the pending cases.
Very small number of the accused those go absconding or untraceable. It is found the police many times help the accused by giving false reports to the courts. Naturally, corruption takes place in such and other cases and it is not small. However, it can be seen that the purpose of the date system is not served. At one hand the honest do suffer when dishonest can escape from the judicial trial. But now, with the modern technologies at hand, it is very much hard for one to remain untraceable if one is determined to find someone. And to police, at the least now, this cannot be an impossible task.
Then, the question is, what is the use of following the outdated date system that wastes time and money of the accused and the judiciary?
The accused must be present at the time of the trial. Not just for the sake of proving that he has not been absconded and is very much alive! It is meaningless to force the accused to be present on every given date when the Judges are sure they cannot start his trial for whatever duration. When the hearing date is fixed that can be intimated to the accused and witnesses through conventional and modern systems. If someone is untraceable or has gone absconding, police machinery can be used to find the accused and produce before the court. This can save tremendous time and costs not only of the accused but judicial system too!
The judicial custody too needs a serious attention because it punishes the accused before he is proven guilty of the crime. To send someone to the judicial custody, at the least the speedy preliminary trial has to be conducted to decide on the nature of the involvement of the accused and whether proofs gathered are enough those may prove him guilty. Courts should also use the discretionary powers to decide whether the accused may or can destroy, alter the proofs and pressurize the witnesses to change their testimony. Unless there are such reasons to believe how an accused can be sent to jail only because if proven guilty the minimum punishment will be over the certain term?
In absence of the preliminary trial, detaining any accused in the jail stuffing him with the proven criminals is nothing but an undeserved punishment. This is the violation of the human rights and liberty of the individual. I think the modern society should attend to this grave issue.
Outdated date system also is a serious hurdle in speedy trials and disposal of the huge number of the pending cases. The judicial custody system has overcrowded the jails where even the innocents too have to spend some or more time in inhuman conditions. The system has no right to punish anyone unless he is proved to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt and through the proper legal process.