In Chandigarh, conviction rate in IPC cases falls below 50% mark for 5th year

Jagpreet Singh Sandhu
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The conviction rate in IPC cases was 50.9 percent in 2013. (File)

The conviction rate in IPC cases in Chandigarh was 44.5 percent, in 2018, according to the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The last time the conviction was rate touched the 50 percent mark was in 2013.

Going by the records of NCRB, in 2013, trials of 2,308 IPC cases were completed in the Chandigarh district Courts, among which in 1,175 cases the accused were convicted, and the conviction rate came out to be 50.9 percent. In 2014, the trials in 2,237 cases were completed in Chandigarh Courts. Out of this, 894 cases accused were convicted, and the conviction rate turned out to be 40 percent. The conviction rate then increased to 43.6 percent in 2015, with 1,369 convictions in total 3,138 trials conducted. The next year, the conviction rate was 44.3 percent with 837 convictions out of 1,888 trials conducted.

However, the conviction rate again came down by around six percent in 2017 to 38.8 percent as the convictions were 576 out of the total 1484 trials conducted. The report of NCRB reveals that in 2018, trials completed in IPC cases in the Chandigarh district courts were 1204 with 536 convictions. Though the conviction rate which though increased by around six percent from the last year, it was still below the 50 percent mark.

Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Nilambari Jagadale, SSP Chandigarh Police said, “We are now relying more on scientific evidence. Also, we are going for 164 CrPC statements in crime against women and heinous cases. Both these help in improving the conviction rate. A committee of LR and police department senior-most officers is formed and it scrutinizes each and every acquittal case. Learnings from this scrutiny are incorporated in basic, promotional and refresher training as a course correction measure. Meanwhile, complainant and witnesses turning hostile remain a major reason for acquittal.”

Advocate Gagan Aggarwal, a criminal lawyer said, “material contradictions in the court were the main reason for the low conviction rate. For example, in a recent case of acquittal of nine students of PU in a violence case, the prime reason was evidence contradiction as the police produced the torn winter uniform of a woman constable while the incident took place in summer.”

“Whereas in several cases, the witnesses procured in the case by police are not the actual ones as the policeman who had actually visited the spot does not appear in the court during trial. The other policeman who never visited the crime scene is made a witness in the court,” added Aggarwal.

Another criminal lawyer in Chandigarh, Dikshit Arora, who deals in IPC cases, said, “The delay in registration of FIRs is a reason. Also in theft and snatching cases where the recovery is not done in front of the complainant, the complainant fails to identify the accused in court and turns hostile which leads to acquittals.”