The “National Seminar on Restorative justice” focused on the various aspects of restorative justice, its need and how it can be integrated in the present-day justice delivery system in India. The program commenced with the traditional recitation of Quranic verses related to establishing Justice by Maulana Qasmi sahib. During the Inaugural session Professor Nuzhat Parveen Khan (Dean Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia) stressed on the importance of Restorative justice as an important measure of reforming the criminal justice system in India. She highlighted the concept of plea bargaining which can serve as an effective tool in inculcating the spirit of restorative justice in India. Dr. Asad Malik, (Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia) in his welcome address pointed out that the Criminal Justice System of India keeps its focus on the accused rather than the victim of the crime which are left at the mercy of circumstances rather than being rehabilitated. The Seminar was divided into five technical sessions, in which more than seventy papers were presented by a galaxy of academicians, research scholars and students coming from across the country.
Chair and Co-Chairs of the technical sessions included Prof. Kehkashan Daniyal, (Faculty of Law, JMI, New Delhi); Shri Sanjay Vashistha (Advocate Supreme Court of India); Prof. Mohd. Hussain (Dean, Faculty of Law, Jammu University); Shri Amit Singh, (Associate Professor SGT University, Gurgaon); Prof. Nisar-ul-Haq (Department of Political Science, JMI); Shri Shridul Gupta (Assistant Professor of Law, SGT University, Gurgaon); Dr. Anju Vali Tikoo (Associate Professor of Law, Univ. of Delhi), Dr. Pinki Sharma (Associate Professor of Law, Univ. of Delhi), Dr. Ghulam Yazdani (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, JMI); Prof. Sabiha Hussain (Director, Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, JMI), and Dr. Abdul Azim Akhtar (Assistant Professor of History, SGT University, Gurgaon).
Thereafter, a plenary session was held comprising of prominent experts in the field, which included Justice V.B. Gupta (Former Judge Delhi High Court); Prof. Ved Kumari (Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi); Prof. Md. Hussain (Dean, Faculty of Law, Kashmir University); Prof. G.S. Bajpai (Registrar, National Law University, Delhi); Prof. Afzal Wani (Former Dean, Faculty of Law, GGSIPU); Ms. Geeta Luthra (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India) and Prof. N.S. Bawa (Professor of Law, SGT University, Gurgaon). The plenary session was attended by more than 75 participants including paper presenters from diverse background, academicians, students and volunteers. Hon’ble Justice V.B. Gupta elaborated upon the concept of Restorative Justice, its need and its importance in today’s times. He mentioned about the need to institutionalize victim’s compensation in Indian Justice delivery system, and referred to the relevant provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Probation of Offenders Act. He stressed upon the need of Mediation, conciliation and Community services for the speedy disposal of cases. Ms. Geeta Luthra highlighted vital issues related to the theme of Restorative Justice. She said that while compensating the victims we should ensure that they should be rehabilitated. She emphasized that there should be fair, considerate and sympathetic treatment by the police, hospital, welfare organization, prosecution and courts to the victim. She said that it’s a state responsibility to take care of victims. Prof. Mohd. Hussain referred to the Malimath Committee Report on reformation of Indian criminal justice system which stressed upon the victim’s Compensation. He advocated institutionalization of restorative justice in India. Prof. Ved Kumari focused on many issues relating to criminal justice system and restorative justice through social discipline window. It was also stressed upon that courts need to focus that how the harm can be repaired apart from punishing the accused. She supported Chicago Youth Study. As per this study, Proliferation of restorative justice would be tremendously functional and beneficial for offenders, community and for justice delivery in India. She advocated that there should be dialogue between victim and offenders and that restorative justice must be victim oriented. Prof. G.S. Bajpai concentrated on the parameters of restorative justice and shared the relevant UN Resolution. He outlined the main objectives of restorative justice and emphasized that it’s very important that victims should have an opportunity to express their needs and to participate in determining the best way for the offender to make reparation. Further the community should also be involved to contribute in this process. Prof. N. S. Bawa shared his experience of dealing with criminal cases. He said that in our criminal justice system all the rights are well arranged for the accused and victims are overlooked. He emphasized that whenever there is violation of any fundamental rights monetary compensation should be provided to the victims. Prof. (Dr.) Afzal Wani said that idea of justice needs to be properly realized and executed in our society. He opined that restorative Justice should be an integral part of justice delivery mechanism and it’s a duty of every state to remove the hardships of victim. Overall the Seminar left a deep mark in the discussion on the inculcation of the concept of restorative justice in our criminal justice system.