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India: The Criminal Justice System
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > The Criminal Justice System


The criminal justice system descends from the British model. The judiciary and the bar are independent although efforts have been made by some politicians to undermine the autonomy of the judiciary. From about the time of Indira Gandhi's tenure as prime minister, the executive has treated judicial authorities in an arbitrary fashion. Judges who handed down decisions that challenged the regime in office have on occasion been passed over for promotion, for example. Furthermore, unpopular judges have been given less-than-desirable assignments. Because the pay and perquisites of the judiciary have not kept up with salaries and benefits in the private sector, fewer able members of the legal profession have entered the ranks of the senior judiciary.

Despite the decline in the caliber and probity of the judiciary, established procedures for the protection of defendants, except in the case of strife-torn areas, are routinely observed. The penal philosophy embraces the ideals of preventing crime and rehabilitating criminals.

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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