Criminal justice system needs to be revamped: CJI

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Kochi, Jan 5 (UNI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said the preventive and deterrent mechanisms in the present criminal justice system need to be revamped and infused with the spirit of human rights values to strike a balance between the concerns of the security agencies and protection of the constitutional liberties of people.

Speaking on 'Civil Liberties in National Security' after inaugurating the 'S Easwarya Iyer Memorial Law Lecture-2008 here, Justice Balakrishnan said to this end, it was important to look at international agencies and encourage the contribution and co-operation of non-state players like NGOs, citizens' groups and associations.

He said it was also vital to ensure effective public participation towards the maintenance of the country's internal security and arrive at a system of rules that was effective in maintaining national harmony within the limits of the Constitution.

The CJI also stressed the importance of an impartial, efficacious and rights-based criminal justice mechanism as an essential ingredient for a harmonious social order.

Justice Balakrishnan said several acts of terror in the past few years showed that the length and breadth of the country was vulnerable to terror strikes.

''The 'proponents' of terror, armed with modern technology and assisted by a multitude of sleeper cells, had spread their influence even to areas hitherto inaccessible,'' he noted.

He said the transnational links of terror organisations with drugs and arms trafficking groups had come to the fore, making the problem more complex with far-reaching implications.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Justice of Canada Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin said terrorism posed special challenges to democratic states that value civil liberties.

'' The challenge for the legislators and courts is to maintain our civil liberties to the maximum extent possible, while protecting the society against terrorist attacks,'' she said.

''What we must do --or strive to do-- is to fight terrorism while maintaining our constitutional rights and freedom to the maximum extent possible,'' she added.


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