NCERT Textbook - Understanding Our Criminal Justice System Class 8 Notes | EduRev

Social Studies (SST) Class 8

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UPSC : NCERT Textbook - Understanding Our Criminal Justice System Class 8 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Social and Political Life 66
Chapter 6
Understanding Our
Criminal Justice
System
When we see someone violating the law, we
immediately think of informing the police. You might
have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police
officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because
of the role played by the police in arresting persons,
we often get confused and think that it is the police
who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This,
however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,
it is a court of law that decides whether the accused
person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,
every individual charged of a crime has to be given a
fair trial.
Do you know what it means to get a fair trial? Have
you heard of an FIR? Or, do you know who a public
prosecutor is? In this chapter, we use a fictional case
of theft to try and highlight the process as well as
the role of different individuals in the criminal justice
system. Most cases go through a process that is
similar to the one discussed in our fictional case.
Therefore, understanding these processes as well as
the role that different persons should play within
the criminal justice system is crucial, so that if ever
the occasion should arise, you are aware of the
processes that should be followed.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
2015-16
Page 2


Social and Political Life 66
Chapter 6
Understanding Our
Criminal Justice
System
When we see someone violating the law, we
immediately think of informing the police. You might
have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police
officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because
of the role played by the police in arresting persons,
we often get confused and think that it is the police
who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This,
however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,
it is a court of law that decides whether the accused
person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,
every individual charged of a crime has to be given a
fair trial.
Do you know what it means to get a fair trial? Have
you heard of an FIR? Or, do you know who a public
prosecutor is? In this chapter, we use a fictional case
of theft to try and highlight the process as well as
the role of different individuals in the criminal justice
system. Most cases go through a process that is
similar to the one discussed in our fictional case.
Therefore, understanding these processes as well as
the role that different persons should play within
the criminal justice system is crucial, so that if ever
the occasion should arise, you are aware of the
processes that should be followed.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
2015-16
67
Mr Shinde has come to the police station.
18.7.06
At their apartment in Mumbai Mrs Shinde is getting dressed. She has been
frantically searching for her gold chain for over an hour.
Shanti Hembram has been working in the house for
the past three years.
Mr Shinde searches Shanti’s trunk and finds an
envelope with Rs.10,000 in it.  He screams at Shanti
saying that this is the money she’s got from selling
the chain.
P o
Madam, I haven’t
stolen it.
Sub inspector (S.I.) Rao records Mr Shinde’s FIR.
I am sure it was in
this drawer! Where
could it be...?
I can’t find my gold chain - it’s
not in the drawer! I suspect that
Shanti might have stolen it. She
always spends a long time
dusting my room.
Hurry up! We are
going to be late for
the wedding.
Shanti, have you begun to steal
now? And that too my gold chain.
Bring your trunk - I want to search
it. We’ve called the police. So if you
have the chain, return it now.
Saab, my brother and I have been
saving this money over the last
one year. We want to buy a bull
when we go to our village.
Madam, I am innocent.
I have come to file an FIR. There has
been a theft in my house. My maid
Shanti has stolen my wife’s necklace.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
Yes.
2015-16
Page 3


Social and Political Life 66
Chapter 6
Understanding Our
Criminal Justice
System
When we see someone violating the law, we
immediately think of informing the police. You might
have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police
officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because
of the role played by the police in arresting persons,
we often get confused and think that it is the police
who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This,
however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,
it is a court of law that decides whether the accused
person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,
every individual charged of a crime has to be given a
fair trial.
Do you know what it means to get a fair trial? Have
you heard of an FIR? Or, do you know who a public
prosecutor is? In this chapter, we use a fictional case
of theft to try and highlight the process as well as
the role of different individuals in the criminal justice
system. Most cases go through a process that is
similar to the one discussed in our fictional case.
Therefore, understanding these processes as well as
the role that different persons should play within
the criminal justice system is crucial, so that if ever
the occasion should arise, you are aware of the
processes that should be followed.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
2015-16
67
Mr Shinde has come to the police station.
18.7.06
At their apartment in Mumbai Mrs Shinde is getting dressed. She has been
frantically searching for her gold chain for over an hour.
Shanti Hembram has been working in the house for
the past three years.
Mr Shinde searches Shanti’s trunk and finds an
envelope with Rs.10,000 in it.  He screams at Shanti
saying that this is the money she’s got from selling
the chain.
P o
Madam, I haven’t
stolen it.
Sub inspector (S.I.) Rao records Mr Shinde’s FIR.
I am sure it was in
this drawer! Where
could it be...?
I can’t find my gold chain - it’s
not in the drawer! I suspect that
Shanti might have stolen it. She
always spends a long time
dusting my room.
Hurry up! We are
going to be late for
the wedding.
Shanti, have you begun to steal
now? And that too my gold chain.
Bring your trunk - I want to search
it. We’ve called the police. So if you
have the chain, return it now.
Saab, my brother and I have been
saving this money over the last
one year. We want to buy a bull
when we go to our village.
Madam, I am innocent.
I have come to file an FIR. There has
been a theft in my house. My maid
Shanti has stolen my wife’s necklace.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
Yes.
2015-16
Social and Political Life 68
19.7.06
Sushil, Shanti’s brother arrives and pleads with S.I. Rao to
release Shanti.
23.8.06
Although the court granted bail to Shanti after a month, she was unable to get anyone to stand surety for her for
Rs 20,000. She, therefore, continued to be in jail. She is very traumatised. She is worried about what will happen during
the trial.
What will happen to me? I haven’t
done anything wrong and yet I am
behind bars just because Madam
suspects me. And the money that
we’ve been saving... will I ever get it
back…?
14.9.06
The police files a chargesheet in the Magistrate’s Court. The court gives a copy of the chargesheet including
statements of witnesses to Shanti.  Shanti tells the court that she has no lawyer to defend her against this false
case of theft.
The Magistrate appoints Advocate Kamla Roy as Shanti’s defence lawyer at the government’s expense.
According to Article 22 of the Constitution, every person has a Fundamental Right to be defended by a
lawyer. Article 39A of the Constitution places a duty upon the State to provide a lawyer to any citizen who
is unable to engage one due to poverty or other disability.
S.I. Rao forcibly keeps Sushil in the police station for two days. Sushil is abused and beaten by S.I. Rao and other
police constables. They try and make him confess that he and his sister Shanti head a gang of domestic servants that
have stolen jewellery from other homes. There have been other complaints of theft of jewellery from Shinde’s
neighbourhood. As Sushil keeps repeating that he is an innocent factory worker, the police let him go after two days.
Mr Shinde returns with Sub Inspector Rao.
I will now write the statements
that Mr and Mrs Shinde make
about this theft. Let me seal the
envelope that has the money and
take it with me as evidence. I am
arresting Shanti and taking her to
the police station.
Please don’t let him take me! I
have not stolen the chain. This
is my hard-earned money…
But where will I get the money to
hire a lawyer? and who will stand as
surety for her? You have taken all of
our savings and sealed it…
She has been arrested for
the theft of a gold chain.
You can go to court and get
a bail order.
2015-16
Page 4


Social and Political Life 66
Chapter 6
Understanding Our
Criminal Justice
System
When we see someone violating the law, we
immediately think of informing the police. You might
have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police
officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because
of the role played by the police in arresting persons,
we often get confused and think that it is the police
who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This,
however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,
it is a court of law that decides whether the accused
person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,
every individual charged of a crime has to be given a
fair trial.
Do you know what it means to get a fair trial? Have
you heard of an FIR? Or, do you know who a public
prosecutor is? In this chapter, we use a fictional case
of theft to try and highlight the process as well as
the role of different individuals in the criminal justice
system. Most cases go through a process that is
similar to the one discussed in our fictional case.
Therefore, understanding these processes as well as
the role that different persons should play within
the criminal justice system is crucial, so that if ever
the occasion should arise, you are aware of the
processes that should be followed.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
2015-16
67
Mr Shinde has come to the police station.
18.7.06
At their apartment in Mumbai Mrs Shinde is getting dressed. She has been
frantically searching for her gold chain for over an hour.
Shanti Hembram has been working in the house for
the past three years.
Mr Shinde searches Shanti’s trunk and finds an
envelope with Rs.10,000 in it.  He screams at Shanti
saying that this is the money she’s got from selling
the chain.
P o
Madam, I haven’t
stolen it.
Sub inspector (S.I.) Rao records Mr Shinde’s FIR.
I am sure it was in
this drawer! Where
could it be...?
I can’t find my gold chain - it’s
not in the drawer! I suspect that
Shanti might have stolen it. She
always spends a long time
dusting my room.
Hurry up! We are
going to be late for
the wedding.
Shanti, have you begun to steal
now? And that too my gold chain.
Bring your trunk - I want to search
it. We’ve called the police. So if you
have the chain, return it now.
Saab, my brother and I have been
saving this money over the last
one year. We want to buy a bull
when we go to our village.
Madam, I am innocent.
I have come to file an FIR. There has
been a theft in my house. My maid
Shanti has stolen my wife’s necklace.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
Yes.
2015-16
Social and Political Life 68
19.7.06
Sushil, Shanti’s brother arrives and pleads with S.I. Rao to
release Shanti.
23.8.06
Although the court granted bail to Shanti after a month, she was unable to get anyone to stand surety for her for
Rs 20,000. She, therefore, continued to be in jail. She is very traumatised. She is worried about what will happen during
the trial.
What will happen to me? I haven’t
done anything wrong and yet I am
behind bars just because Madam
suspects me. And the money that
we’ve been saving... will I ever get it
back…?
14.9.06
The police files a chargesheet in the Magistrate’s Court. The court gives a copy of the chargesheet including
statements of witnesses to Shanti.  Shanti tells the court that she has no lawyer to defend her against this false
case of theft.
The Magistrate appoints Advocate Kamla Roy as Shanti’s defence lawyer at the government’s expense.
According to Article 22 of the Constitution, every person has a Fundamental Right to be defended by a
lawyer. Article 39A of the Constitution places a duty upon the State to provide a lawyer to any citizen who
is unable to engage one due to poverty or other disability.
S.I. Rao forcibly keeps Sushil in the police station for two days. Sushil is abused and beaten by S.I. Rao and other
police constables. They try and make him confess that he and his sister Shanti head a gang of domestic servants that
have stolen jewellery from other homes. There have been other complaints of theft of jewellery from Shinde’s
neighbourhood. As Sushil keeps repeating that he is an innocent factory worker, the police let him go after two days.
Mr Shinde returns with Sub Inspector Rao.
I will now write the statements
that Mr and Mrs Shinde make
about this theft. Let me seal the
envelope that has the money and
take it with me as evidence. I am
arresting Shanti and taking her to
the police station.
Please don’t let him take me! I
have not stolen the chain. This
is my hard-earned money…
But where will I get the money to
hire a lawyer? and who will stand as
surety for her? You have taken all of
our savings and sealed it…
She has been arrested for
the theft of a gold chain.
You can go to court and get
a bail order.
2015-16
69
11.12.06
The court frames a charge of theft of Mrs Shinde’s gold
chain and possession of money Rs 10,000 got from selling
stolen property against Shanti.
The trial before the Magistrate begins…
8.3.07
The Public Prosecutor appears in the case on behalf of the State. He presents Mrs
and Mr Shinde as a key witnesses.
Next, Advocate Roy cross-examines
the prosecution witness Mrs Shinde.
Advocate Kamla Roy meets Shanti in the court
Here are my case papers.
I have been falsely
accused of stealing my
employer’s gold chain.
So, what you are basically saying is
that you did not see Shanti steal the
chain. Nor did you recover the chain
on Shanti. Also, in the three years that
she has worked for you, nothing has
been stolen from the house. You were
also regularly paying her
Rs 1,000 as salary each month.
20.4.07
Advocate Roy examines Sushil and his
employer as defence witnesses.  Through
their testimonies, she is able to show that the
Rs 10,000 found in Shanti’s trunk could well
be the earnings of Sushil and Shanti.
They found Rs 10,000 in Shanti’s
trunk and said that this was the
money she got from stealing the
chain. But that is money that we
have been saving up together.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
So tell me, Mrs Shinde,
how did the gold chain
go missing?
I had kept my chain in the drawer.
Shanti stole it. No other outsider
except Shanti goes into my room.
Mr Shinde searched her trunk in
front of me and we were shocked
to find Rs 10,000 in an envelope.
Shanti got this money from selling
my gold chain. She is a thief.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
2015-16
Page 5


Social and Political Life 66
Chapter 6
Understanding Our
Criminal Justice
System
When we see someone violating the law, we
immediately think of informing the police. You might
have seen, either in real life or in the movies, police
officers filing reports and arresting persons. Because
of the role played by the police in arresting persons,
we often get confused and think that it is the police
who decide whether a person is guilty or not. This,
however, is far from true. After a person is arrested,
it is a court of law that decides whether the accused
person is guilty or not. According to the Constitution,
every individual charged of a crime has to be given a
fair trial.
Do you know what it means to get a fair trial? Have
you heard of an FIR? Or, do you know who a public
prosecutor is? In this chapter, we use a fictional case
of theft to try and highlight the process as well as
the role of different individuals in the criminal justice
system. Most cases go through a process that is
similar to the one discussed in our fictional case.
Therefore, understanding these processes as well as
the role that different persons should play within
the criminal justice system is crucial, so that if ever
the occasion should arise, you are aware of the
processes that should be followed.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
2015-16
67
Mr Shinde has come to the police station.
18.7.06
At their apartment in Mumbai Mrs Shinde is getting dressed. She has been
frantically searching for her gold chain for over an hour.
Shanti Hembram has been working in the house for
the past three years.
Mr Shinde searches Shanti’s trunk and finds an
envelope with Rs.10,000 in it.  He screams at Shanti
saying that this is the money she’s got from selling
the chain.
P o
Madam, I haven’t
stolen it.
Sub inspector (S.I.) Rao records Mr Shinde’s FIR.
I am sure it was in
this drawer! Where
could it be...?
I can’t find my gold chain - it’s
not in the drawer! I suspect that
Shanti might have stolen it. She
always spends a long time
dusting my room.
Hurry up! We are
going to be late for
the wedding.
Shanti, have you begun to steal
now? And that too my gold chain.
Bring your trunk - I want to search
it. We’ve called the police. So if you
have the chain, return it now.
Saab, my brother and I have been
saving this money over the last
one year. We want to buy a bull
when we go to our village.
Madam, I am innocent.
I have come to file an FIR. There has
been a theft in my house. My maid
Shanti has stolen my wife’s necklace.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
Yes.
2015-16
Social and Political Life 68
19.7.06
Sushil, Shanti’s brother arrives and pleads with S.I. Rao to
release Shanti.
23.8.06
Although the court granted bail to Shanti after a month, she was unable to get anyone to stand surety for her for
Rs 20,000. She, therefore, continued to be in jail. She is very traumatised. She is worried about what will happen during
the trial.
What will happen to me? I haven’t
done anything wrong and yet I am
behind bars just because Madam
suspects me. And the money that
we’ve been saving... will I ever get it
back…?
14.9.06
The police files a chargesheet in the Magistrate’s Court. The court gives a copy of the chargesheet including
statements of witnesses to Shanti.  Shanti tells the court that she has no lawyer to defend her against this false
case of theft.
The Magistrate appoints Advocate Kamla Roy as Shanti’s defence lawyer at the government’s expense.
According to Article 22 of the Constitution, every person has a Fundamental Right to be defended by a
lawyer. Article 39A of the Constitution places a duty upon the State to provide a lawyer to any citizen who
is unable to engage one due to poverty or other disability.
S.I. Rao forcibly keeps Sushil in the police station for two days. Sushil is abused and beaten by S.I. Rao and other
police constables. They try and make him confess that he and his sister Shanti head a gang of domestic servants that
have stolen jewellery from other homes. There have been other complaints of theft of jewellery from Shinde’s
neighbourhood. As Sushil keeps repeating that he is an innocent factory worker, the police let him go after two days.
Mr Shinde returns with Sub Inspector Rao.
I will now write the statements
that Mr and Mrs Shinde make
about this theft. Let me seal the
envelope that has the money and
take it with me as evidence. I am
arresting Shanti and taking her to
the police station.
Please don’t let him take me! I
have not stolen the chain. This
is my hard-earned money…
But where will I get the money to
hire a lawyer? and who will stand as
surety for her? You have taken all of
our savings and sealed it…
She has been arrested for
the theft of a gold chain.
You can go to court and get
a bail order.
2015-16
69
11.12.06
The court frames a charge of theft of Mrs Shinde’s gold
chain and possession of money Rs 10,000 got from selling
stolen property against Shanti.
The trial before the Magistrate begins…
8.3.07
The Public Prosecutor appears in the case on behalf of the State. He presents Mrs
and Mr Shinde as a key witnesses.
Next, Advocate Roy cross-examines
the prosecution witness Mrs Shinde.
Advocate Kamla Roy meets Shanti in the court
Here are my case papers.
I have been falsely
accused of stealing my
employer’s gold chain.
So, what you are basically saying is
that you did not see Shanti steal the
chain. Nor did you recover the chain
on Shanti. Also, in the three years that
she has worked for you, nothing has
been stolen from the house. You were
also regularly paying her
Rs 1,000 as salary each month.
20.4.07
Advocate Roy examines Sushil and his
employer as defence witnesses.  Through
their testimonies, she is able to show that the
Rs 10,000 found in Shanti’s trunk could well
be the earnings of Sushil and Shanti.
They found Rs 10,000 in Shanti’s
trunk and said that this was the
money she got from stealing the
chain. But that is money that we
have been saving up together.
I plead not guilty.
And I claim trial.
So tell me, Mrs Shinde,
how did the gold chain
go missing?
I had kept my chain in the drawer.
Shanti stole it. No other outsider
except Shanti goes into my room.
Mr Shinde searched her trunk in
front of me and we were shocked
to find Rs 10,000 in an envelope.
Shanti got this money from selling
my gold chain. She is a thief.
Chapter 6: Understanding Our Criminal
Justice System
2015-16
Social and Political Life 70
From the above incident, you can see that the four key
players in the criminal justice system are the police police police police police, the
Public Prosecutor Public Prosecutor Public Prosecutor Public Prosecutor Public Prosecutor, the defence lawyer defence lawyer defence lawyer defence lawyer defence lawyer and the judge judge judge judge judge. You
have seen the roles each of them played in the above case.
Now let us try and understand their roles more generally.
What is the Role of the Police in
Investigating a Crime?
One important function of the police is to investigate any
complaint about the commission of a crime. An
investigation includes recording statements of witnesses and
collecting different kinds of evidence. On the basis of the
investigation, the police are required to form an opinion.
If the police think that the evidence points to the guilt of
the accused person, then they file a chargesheet in the court.
As stated at the beginning of this chapter, it is not the job
14.5.07
As the trial is nearing completion, Sushil learns that
Inspector Sharma has busted a gang of young men who
have been stealing jewellery from the Shinde’s
neighbourhood. Some of Mrs Shinde’s son’s friends are
part of this gang. Mrs Shinde’s chain has been found on
them. Sushil tells Advocate Roy about this. Advocate Roy
now calls Inspector Sharma as a defence witness.
15.7.07
The judge hears the testimony of all the witnesses. After
the testimony of Inspector Sharma, Advocate Roy argues
before the judge that it has now been established that
Shanti is innocent and should be acquitted. Inspector Sharma, can
you show and tell us
what you’ve found?
Here is the chain that has been
identified by Mrs Shinde as hers. We
busted a gang of boys who had stolen
the chain. These boys have admitted
that they stole the chain.
Shanti, you are hereby acquitted of the charge of
theft. The police will hand over to you the
Rs 10,000 that they had sealed. In my written
judgment, I have made it a point to highlight S.I. Rao’s
role in conducting such a shoddy investigation that
made you spend time in jail.
2015-16
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