‘New study’ to correct conviction rate in state

National Crime Records Bureau report of 2011 says Maharashtra has the lowest conviction rate in the country.

The abysmal conviction rate of 9 per cent in Maharashtra is worrying even the Union law ministry, which has proposed a "new study" to solve the peculiar problem.

National Crime Records Bureau report of 2011 says the state has the lowest conviction rate in the country, lower than Bihar and UP. In fact, UP reported an impressive 59.5 per cent.

The decision to study the low conviction rate in Maharashtra was taken at a meeting between CM Prithviraj Chavan and Union minister for law and justice Ashwani Kumar in Mumbai Wednesday.

Sources said several committees headed by home, law and judiciary and police officials had been formed to suggest measures to improve the rate.

"It is a cause for concern and has been discussed. Obviously, there is a problem peculiar to Maharashtra which needs to be studied. A team of central and state officials will study the reason for the low rate and suggest steps," said Kumar.

Government officials, however, cited recent CID reports to refute 9 per cent conviction. They claimed the rate had gone up to 20 per cent. Government also said pendency had reduced from 49 lakh cases in 2010-11 to 30 lakh till November 2012.

Chavan said there was a detailed discussion on the justice delivery system in Maharashtra, use of central funds, pendency of files, progress in tackling crimes against women and conviction rate.

Meanwhile, the Centre assured "lack of funds would not affect judicial infrastructure" and "priority was to ensure affordable and expeditious justice".

The state has set up 10 gram nyayalayas with an assistance of Rs 1.5 crore from the central government. Additional 15 courts will be set up.

Additional judicial staff

Maharashtra will get additional 180 judicial staff and judges for fast-track courts and courts hearing cases of women. There are already 100 fast-track courts in the state, of which 70 are operational. Additional 16 courts to hear cases of crimes against women would be set up.

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