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Justice delayed is justice denied???

May 3, 2009

Justice delayed is Justice Denied??

Isn’t it true? Doesn’t it always happen?  My history is weak but didn’t it happen with the bofors case, the sikh riots and the very recent Mumbai attack? These are the very few cases which all of us know while there are still many cases pending in the courts.

I want to believe in our judicial system and strongly believe that a fair trial should be given to the accused, immaterial of the scale of crime committed. But the world around me doesn’t allow me to believe in these principles.

Take the case of the 1984 Sikh riots. I wasn’t even born then and the little I know about the incidents that happened during that time is from what I read here and there. Recently, there has been a lot of hue and cry by the opposition because the CBI has given clean chit to Jagdish tytler and the Interpol red corner notice against him has been removed. I don’t know whether he is guilty or not. But did it take 25 years for the CBI/government/who-so-ever was investigating to come to a conclusion that he was innocent?? Even if they are continuing their investigation now, wouldn’t most of the witnesses have died by now? When they couldn’t come to a conclusion in 25 years how can we expect them to find out the real culprit now? Here we can at least assume that the Judiciary is not delaying the case too much but it is either the police/CBI/all the commissions set up to enquire the case who is taking so much of time.

All of us have been seeing what is happening with the trial of the 26/11 carnage.  Some 10 odd men come out of nowhere, kill few, injure many and spread the feelings of fear and insecurity among everyone in the country. One of these 10 men survives and the trial is on. The accused, Ajmal kasab is caught on camera carrying weapons and shooting at people or at least threatening them (assuming that he killing someone was not caught on camera). Even before the carnage ended, the news that the culprits were from Pakistan, they were trained by so-and-so terrorist organization and many such details came in to light. It’s over 5 months that the unfortunate event has happened. But what has happened till now?

After being caught he was kept in jail and for few days no one knew what had happened to him. Then, he is brought to court and after a few more days the court appoints a lawyer to defend him. Then, some good for nothing politicians/political workers attack the lawyer’s home and after 2 days of drama, she decided that she will take up the case. And when we think that the trial will finally begin and justice will be done, the court comes to know that lawyer appointed has already taken up another case related to the same incident and hence is unfit to take up this case. Anew lawyer is appointed and finally the trial begins and hence unfolds more drama.

The defense lawyer comes up and raises the issue that his client is still a minor and the confession which he had given earlier was forced out of him. The court orders a medical test and after receiving the report which says he is not a minor, the defense says that they will have to verify the authenticity of the medical report and the chances of error that might have occurred. In the mean while, the culprit or rather the accused comes up with his wish list saying he should be given access to newspapers and some more things..

I live nowhere near Mumbai and I know no one there except for a friend’s sister and few blogging friends (whom I came to know after the attacks). But I cried when Mumbai has lived those 3 days without sleep. And when I don’t see any justice being done, I feel helpless. If this is how I feel just imagine how the victims would have been feeling when all this is going on. In a case where everyone knows the truth and there are a number of witnesses, if the trial takes this long how can one still continue believing that justice will be done?

The main objective of the judicial system is to punish the guilty and see to it that a person who has done something wrong should pay for it and justice is to be done to the victim/their family. But how far is this being done? I do agree that in a country like India with a population of over a billion and with increasing crime rate it is difficult to close the cases as fast as we expect. But how long can one wait?

Just assume that person ‘A’ killed person ‘B’, who has a wife and a small kid dependent on him. The case is taken to court and after all the proceedings it is found that ‘A’ is guilty and should be hanged to death (I am not sure as to what would be the actual punishment. This is just for assumption). And for obvious reasons, ‘A’ challenges this decision in the higher court followed by high court and finally the Supreme Court. Assuming that the judgments in all the courts are the same, it would take a minimum of 15-20 years for the culprit to get punished. In all these years, the family of ‘B’ would have struggled and had been waiting for justice to be done for ’B’s death and all the while ‘A’ must have continued his living in a normal way except for staying in jail for few days, coming out on parole and going to court regularly. Even if he is being awarded life sentence or death sentence, he would have happily spent 15-20 years normally and would just loose a few years of the normal life. Now, is this real justice?

One can say that as per the policy ‘a court can leave free a hundred guilty people but shouldn’t punish a single non-guilty person’, and as the severity of the case is high there is this delay in the judgments. But isn’t it the same way for other cases as well?

We have been seeing several cases where people are arrested because of illegally hunting/killing animals. What is there in investigating so much about them? If he/she has killed an animal how many days does it take to investigate? And when investigation is done how many days does it take to verify it and pronounce a judgment?

Also, aren’t the punishments meant to teach everyone around, a lesson saying “Look. If anyone does such a crime as this, you would be made to follow the rule and serve so-and-so punishment”. But is it happening these days?

If in a case the trial gets completed soon and the person who is guilty gets punished sooner then others around him will learn from it and think they better not commit such acts and not get punished. Doesn’t the crime rate also decrease in this manner? The quicker the justice is done, the better the people around become and hence the lesser the cases. Right? I just hope that someday I will see Indian judiciary change and thereby a better India.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2009 1:23 PM

    I agree with you..
    what u wrote is a fact in india…

    Saritha, Yes, sadly, it is a fact in India. What we can do is just hope that it will change some day.

  2. May 5, 2009 2:09 AM

    Read this earlier.. wanted to comment at leisure..

    it just seems so hopeless..I have started losing faith in our judicial system 😦
    like you rightly said the ghosts of 84 have still not been laid to rest 😦
    how will we get justice for Gujarat?

    hi Indyeah,
    A number of cases like Gujarat which caused death of several innocent people are still pending and what we can do is just wait for the courts to pronounce their ‘final’ judgments.
    the more important question is not how but when will we get justice done?

  3. May 5, 2009 6:41 AM

    I so agree.Very well written…

    Also we may claim to follow ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ and go through years of dragging important cases, but on the other hand, innocent people are arrested and in custody without trial, under laws that are meant to control terrorism but control nothing, just empower the politicians. (POTA, TADA, MISA, NSA etc)

    It’s becoming a system where elected representatives become rulers, they are never punished, cases drag if they are booked and it’s shocking how much they get away with… I think the worst is that if you are in jail, you cannot vote, but you can fight elections from jail!!!And when nothing else works, get your spouse to take your place!!

    exactly IHM!
    They create new laws each day and the objective behind them is to nail the opposition leaders but not to really fight terrorists/ punish the guilty.
    As you rightly pointed out, if you are in jail you can’t vote but contest in elections. what kind of justice is this?

  4. May 5, 2009 11:55 AM

    It is sad, mystery. When it comes to hardcore terrorists then there is proper law and hearing and trial but when it comes to innocent citizens then there is no one to fight for them and some rot in prison for no fault of their’s.

    I agree with you Solilo.
    Apart from the delay in the trial, there is also a lot of delay in bringing the accused to court itself. In our school books we learned about the habeas corpus writ, according to which the accused should be produced in court within 24 hours. i don’t know how well it is being implemented or whether it is implemented at all in India.

  5. May 5, 2009 5:04 PM

    Mystery, it is such a shame that our judicial process is so slow.. And the drama that is Kasab’s trial is just underlining the fact that we need to find ways to expedite trials. The longer the trials continue, witnesses could be coerced, evidence could be tampered with and most importantly, the guilty may even never be punished! And the sad thing is that none of our lawmakers are bothered – they are more than happy with the way our judicial process seem to work.. Maybe – because they actually benefit from it?

    even if we forget the other cases, the mumbai attack trial getting prolonged like anything is so depressing.
    I mean everyone knows the truth and there is ample evidence and still this delay!
    ” Maybe – because they actually benefit from it?” true. The present system is just benefitting them and no others

  6. May 5, 2009 7:35 PM

    Unfortunately like everything else in India. judiciary requires a lot of reforms.. the labyrinth of amendments and by laws make the laws so hard for anyone to understand!

    i guess all our politicians can clearly understand the laws and how to get away without the punishment

  7. Santhosh permalink
    May 5, 2009 10:04 PM

    very elaaaabooooraaaaaaaateeeeeeeee post!…. and Indian Judiciary is very steady and well made. The system is sturdy and strong but if the people who have to bear the burden in the right spirit aren’t doing their jobs properly. Some of the unsuccessful cases are so very glaring in our eyes, but there are sooo many cases which have proven the power of Law and Judiciary. If the people are true and just to themselves then there would be even fewer cases like the Khalistan-Sikh riots, Godhra, Bofors, etc. It all boils down to just one thing! If people are true to themselves, no criminal lawyer would make money nor there would be any need for public upheaval.

    I agree to the point that if ppl are true to themselves there would be a better world out there. but aren’t you talking about the ideal world where everyone should be good and all..
    It is expected that the System works properly even in the worst case scenarios and not just the best-of-best cases. As you said i may not be aware of the cases which were solved quickly, but i am sure that the % of the same would be very very less(i feel it will be very near to the Zero) when compared to the other cases.

  8. May 7, 2009 2:32 PM

    I am in complete agreement to your post, we will have to work towards a faster justice otherwise it would be no justice at all.

    Yes renu. Faster Justice or no justice.

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