This review is written by Aarti Gautam, a student of B.A. ll.b, Panjab University Regional Centre, ludihana.

In a country where popular cinema often fails to capture the reality of judicial system, Criminal Justice is something different. This web series court room drama shows the perfect ground reality of our country’s Judicial System, Police Administration, Media, trial proceedings and jail politics. It is the thriller series starts by introducing Aditya Sharma as cab driver who comes from middle class family and he doesn’t think twice before helping others. On fateful night, a passenger named Sanaya Rath leaves her phone behind. One thing leads to another and a Hung over Aditya wakes up next to his one night stand Sanaya, who has been murdered, but he has no recollection of what has transpired a night before. Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi) is notorious for being a corrupt and money minded lawyer and accidently become the defence council by fluke and interestingly, Mandira’s strong minded assistant teams up with Madhav to help in the case. Aditya is produced before Magistrate within 24 hours and he pleads not guilty, however his request of bail was rejected by Magistrate. Because of which he was placed in Police custody for 14 days but later Nikhat however fails to get him acquittal.

The dialogue by Madhav Mishra “kaanon andha hota hai ya nahi ye to nahi maloom par langda hota hai ye sabko maloom hai” suits to our Indian Judicial System. One of the loophole of Indian judiciary is it takes long time in proceeding and trials. The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty” and is the legal right of the accused in criminal trial and we can finely interpret the importance of these lines during the series as Aditya Sharma in his court trials repeated this many times. A case deals with different dimensions and one factor effect the other, the same happens in this story as due to biasness of Police inspector (Raghu Sallian) in investigation, Aditya Sharma had to suffer. As somewhere investigation officers connect the issue with their emotions and see only one side of the case and they themselves issues the judgement and with that vision they investigate the case like in this series Police officer Raghu Salian bent on proving that Aditya is the murderer, but in reality; he was not culprit. Media imparts very vital role in Indian democracy and hence it is called the fourth pillar of the Democracy and it is expected from media to provide impartial and unbiased news as it plays a vital role in shaping the opinions of the society and is competent in changing the whole viewpoint through which people perceive events.

Therefore, duty of media is to simply put out minute details rather than reaching any conclusion about any matter on their own. In this series criminal justice Aditya Sharma case leads the whole world towards biased against one community or a single person (Aditya Sharma). Media trials given an unfair portrayal of the accused and destroy the career of many people, merely by the fact that they were accused; even they have not yet been proven guilty by court of Law. Due to the public reaction, opinions and outrage, the lawyer’s security comes to danger due to which they are unable to fulfil ethical duty to provide legal aid in Criminal matters. Therefore, Aditya Sharma was shifted to central jail and he had to suffer with mental illness and it can be easily said that media trials affects the principle of Natural Justice.

This series soon drifts into life spent by a convict in prison, here Aditya slowly adapting to the prison environment. Some parts of the screenplay drag on for eternity, when Aditya is in prison fighting the jail politics. Aditya find support in Mustafa (Jakie Shroff), who is lord of prison gang. With their growing relationships, Mustafa helps in transforming Aditya into a person- a version far away from his former self. Jackie Shroff sleepwalks through the role of Mustafa in his ‘bheedu’ style.

Coming back to case, Nikhat and Madhav start investigating the case again together and they build good rapport with each other. Nikhat, Madhav, Raghu Salian soon find out the culprit as story was different than before; as sanaya wanted to reveal this secret to public that Naresh Lakhani runs a racket of child prostitution by trading under privileged children where sanya was a volunteer at LFRDC and Kanika Lakhani wanted to stop this from happening. Later Aditya was released from prison. He comes out braver and better than what he was before going to prison.

From essentially Legal perspective, the writers could have given attention to detail to legal terminologies, court process and various stages in a trial. The serious focuses more on the prison and less in court process but I liked how Madhav and Nikhat maintain a platonic relationship with each other. There is this quote, “behind every person you know, there is a person you don’t know”. People viewed Naresh Lakhani as a Good person, but in the end reality came out; the series emphasised on this quote.
Overall, Criminal Justice is engaging, I enjoyed the series. I must say it is a pretty good series, if you like a slow paced thriller than must watch it.

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