Understanding Our Criminal Justice System

8 minute read
Understanding Our Criminal Justice System

What exactly does it mean to get a fair trial? Have you ever heard of an FIR? Who is a public prosecutor? The process is well highlighted in Chapter 6 of CBSE Class 8 Civics Notes, as is the role of different individuals in the criminal justice system. Students can revise the Chapter of NCERT Class 8 Books well by browsing through the CBSE Notes Class 8 Civics Chapter 6-Understanding Our Criminal Justice System.

Download the Understanding Our Criminal Justice System Chapter Here

Understanding the Criminal Justice System: An Overview

The first section of Understanding Our Criminal Justice System talks about Criminal Justice. Criminal justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts.

The Role of the Police in Investigating a Crime

  • The investigation into any complaint about the commission of a crime is an important function of the police. The inquiry involves taking witness statements and gathering various types of evidence. The police are expected to form an opinion based on the investigation.
  • If the police believe that the evidence points to the accused’s conviction, they will file a charge sheet in court. It is not the responsibility of the police to determine whether a suspect is guilty or innocent; this is the court’s responsibility.
  • Meanwhile, the rule of law means that everybody, including the police, is bound by the law. Therefore, police inquiries must be carried out in accordance with the law and with the utmost respect for human rights.
  • The Supreme Court has established rules for police officers to obey during arrest, detention, and questioning. During interrogation, the police are not permitted to torture, beat, or shoot someone. In addition, they are not allowed to administer any manner of punishment on a human, except for minor offenses.

Check Notes On Other Social Science Chapters:

Article 22 of the Constitution

Any arrested person is guaranteed the following Fundamental Rights under Article 22 of the Constitution and criminal law:

  • The right to be told of the crime for which the offender is being arrested at the time of the arrest.
  • The right to be brought before a judge within 24 hours of arrest.
  • The right not to be ill-treated or tortured while being arrested or detained.
  • Confessions made in police custody will not be used as evidence against the accused.
  • A child under the age of 15 and women may not be sent to the police department only for investigation.

D.K. Basu Guidelines

The Supreme Court of India provides basic standards and protocols for police and other authorities to meet when arresting, detaining and interrogating someone. In the next section of Understanding Our Criminal Justice System, D.K. Basu Guidelines are introduced, which are:

• Police officers conducting arrests or interrogations should wear simple, correct, and identifiable identity and name tags with their designations.

• At the time of detention, a memo of arrest should be written, containing the time and date of arrest. It could also be attested to by at least one witness, a family member of the accused person. The person arrested should sign the document.

• The person who has been arrested, imprisoned, or interviewed has the right to notify a relative, acquaintance, or well-wisher. When a friend or relative lives outside the district, police must inform them of the time, place of arrest, and venue of custody within 8 to 12 hours of arrest.

First Information Report (FIR)

  • First Information Report (FIR): After an FIR is filed, police will begin their investigation into a crime. An officer in charge of a police station is required by statute to file an FIR if an individual provides information about a criminal act.
  • This detail can be given to the cops orally or in writing. The FIR usually includes the date, time, and location of the offense, as well as the specific facts of the offense and a description of the incidents.
  • The identities of the accused and witnesses are also listed if they are identified. The complainant’s name and address are also mentioned in the FIR. The offender must sign a required form before the police can register an FIR. The applicant is therefore legally eligible for a free copy of the FIR from the police.

Role of Public Prosecutor

  • A criminal offense that is considered a public wrong is committed not only against the people themselves but also against society as a whole. The public prosecutor is the official who represents the interests of the state. Their involvement continues after the police have completed their investigation and filed the charge sheet in court.
  • They have no involvement with the case. The Prosecutor is responsible for carrying out the investigation on behalf of the State. It is their responsibility as a judicial officer to behave impartially, allowing the court to decide the matter.

Role of the Judge

Chapter 6 Understanding Our Criminal Justice System also discusses the role of the Judge in the judicial system.

  • The Judge, like an umpire in a tournament, holds the hearing impartially in open court. He or she hears both witnesses and facts submitted by the prosecutor and defense.
  • The court determines whether the accused party is guilty or innocent based on the facts provided and the statute. If the accused is found guilty, the court pronounces the penalty and then orders them to prison or issues a fine, or both, depending on the law.

What is a Fair Trial?

In the section of Understanding Our Criminal Justice System, Several protocols must be followed in order for a trial to be fair. Article 21 of the Constitution, which ensures the Right to Life, provides that a person’s life or liberty can only be taken away by a fair and just judicial process. A fair hearing guarantees that the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution are followed.

Features of Fair Trial

Held in an open court, in public view-in the presence of the accused-accused was defended by a lawyer-defense lawyer is given an opportunity to cross-examine all the prosecution witnesses and to present witnesses in accused’s defense-judge has to assume that the accused is innocent- the prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty- judge decides the matter only on the basis of the evidence- judge remains impartial. If proven innocent, the accused is allowed to go free.

Check Class 8 Science Notes

NCERT Solutions of Understanding Our Criminal Justice System

1. In a town called Peace Land, the supporters of the Fiesta football team learn that the supporters of the Jubilee football team in the nearby city about 40 km away have damaged the ground on which the Final between both teams is to be held the following day. A crowd of Fiesta fans armed with deadly weapons attacks the homes of the supporters of the Jubilee football team in the town. In the attack, 10 men are killed, 5 women are gravely hurt, many homes are destroyed and over 50 people injured.

Imagine that you and your classmates are now part of the criminal justice system. First divide the class into the following four groups of persons:

1. Police
2. Public Prosecutor
3. Defense lawyer
4. Judge

The column on the right provides a list of functions. Match these with the roles that are listed on the left. Have each group pick the functions that it needs to perform to bring justice to those who were affected by the violence of the Fiesta fans. In what order, will these functions be performed?

Public Prosecutor
Defense Lawyer
hear the witnesses
record the statements of witnesses
cross-examine the witnesses
take photographs of burnt homes
record the evidence
arrest the Fiesta fans
writes the judgment
argue the case for the victims
decide the number of years for which the accused will be put in jail
examine the witnesses in courtpass the judgment
get the assaulted women medically examinedconduct a fair trialmeet the accused persons

Now take the same situation but ask one student who is a supporter of the Fiesta Club to perform all the functions listed above. Do you think the victims would get justice if only one person performed all of the functions of the criminal justice system? Why not?
State two reasons why you believe that different persons need to play different roles as part of the criminal justice system.


PoliceRecords the statements of witnesses
Takes photographs of burnt homes
Arrests the Fiesta fans
Gets the assaulted women medically examined
Public ProsecutorCross examines the witnesses
Argues the case for the victims
Defense LawyerMeets the accused persons
Examines the witnesses in court
JudgeHears the witnesses
Records the evidence
Writes the judgement
Decides for how many years the accused will be put in jail
Passes the judgementConducts a fair trial

If anyone handles the duties of the criminal justice system, the victim may not receive justice and may be affected by different assumptions. Therefore, separation of powers is often required in the judiciary system since absolute authority will lead to injustice.

Two reasons why different people need to play different roles as part of the criminal justice system are:

  1. A single person cannot handle both aspects of trial and investigation because they include a wide variety of tasks such as arresting, collecting witness statements, representing the victim and guilty persons, and passing a fair trial and judicially accurate judgement.
  2. If all of the powers are concentrated in a single individual, they can be manipulated and thereby violate the laws based on just and equal judgments.

A single ideology may not be the right one, as it can affect the trial and the result of the case.

We hope the notes and NCERT solutions provided on “Understanding Our Criminal Justice System’’ were helpful to you. You can read notes for the other chapters in Class 8 Syllabus. And if you are planning to study abroad, whether after Class 10, or for graduation, Leverage Edu has got your back on that end! The process of preparing yourself for study abroad is long and hectic so you must start preparing for it as soon as possible! The first step, however, will be that you Book our FREE Consultation Call Today! 

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