Plea Bargaining's Resounding Defeat? The Indian Experiment with Plea Bargaining
25 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 10, 2017
Plea bargaining has been on the statute books in India since 2006, and yet, after over a decade since opening shop, it has managed to capture less than 0.5% of cases filed for offenses under the Indian Penal Code as per most recent government data. This paper explores the reasons why, arguing that the foremost cause for low rates of plea bargaining in India is that it is a 'poor fit' within the overall architecture of the Indian criminal process. In doing so, the paper juxtaposes the basic architecture of the Indian criminal justice system with the U.S. federal system, to show why plea bargaining has 'triumphed' in America. The paper concludes that the design flaws in the Indian plea bargaining model are fatal, and legislators and policymakers must turn elsewhere for answers to the pervasive problems of delays in case disposal and overcrowded prisons, policy objectives that plea bargaining was intended to achieve.
Keywords: plea bargaining, criminal procedure, comparative criminal procedure, criminal justice system, Indian law
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