The recently released National Crime Records Bureau has painted a grim picture of Odisha’s conviction rate. As per the report, the state’s conviction rate is the lowest in the country.
The findings revealed that the state’s conviction rate is only 11.9 percent. In 2022, a total of 27,460 cases were disposed of in the courts across the state. But what left the experts worried is the fact that the accused were convicted in only 3,271 cases. And in the rest 24,189 cases, the accused persons were acquitted.
On the other hand, the conviction rates in Mizoram, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh are 95.3 percent, 86.4 percent and 76.2 percent respectively.
So why the conviction rate is so low in Odisha?
It may be ascribed to improper police investigation, said former police official Batakrushna Tripathy.
“If 89 out of 100 accused are acquitted, how will people have faith in the law and order system. The state government should form a committee to find out the reasons why the conviction rate is low, why there are pending cases, and what steps should be taken to address the issues and implement what the committee will suggest,” said Tripathy.
According to the report, Odisha is also far behind in the percentage of cases pending in courts.
In 2022, the courts across the state had received 1,12,370 cases. There had already been a backlog of 7,80,953 cases. So, there were 8,93,323 cases in total to be cleared in 2022. Of them, 8,64,711 cases are still pending.
With respect to pending cases, Odisha is placed in sixth position in the country.
“The number of judges has increased. But that alone won’t help. The procedure of investigation is still traditional. In some cases, there are 20 to 30 witnesses. The trial goes on till the hearing of all witnesses. This needs to be changed. In a case, if there is qualitative evidence, the procedure shouldn’t go for quantity and the case should be disposed of based on the quality of evidence,” opined senior advocate Manas Chand.