Monday, February 14, 2011

The fact is these accused were also guilty of something

  punem sexena=Priyadarshini Mattoo and her murderer Kumar Singh (son of a senior IPS Officer), or the child Ruchika Girhotra and her tormentor DGP Rathore or Jessica Lal and her cold-blooded murderer Manu Sharma (son of an MP) - all the accused were originally either acquitted (like Singh and Manu Sharma) or treated leniently by the lower courts (like Rathore).  It would be naïve to believe that if the higher courts subsequently corrected these original injustices, the public outcry against the injustices, ably projected by the media, had no role to play in bringing these crooks to book.
The fact is these accused were also guilty of something very very serious, but the lower courts did make mistakes in letting them get away or nearly so, some of them even attracting strictures from the higher courts. Public opinion did force the higher courts to take a more careful view of these cases and reverse some of the decisions.  Maybe a social worker of long standing in the area, Dr. Binayak Sen - even if guilty of being a courier of seditious Maoist literature - being awarded life sentence and now denied bail, may be a victim of disproportionately harsh treatment, just as the earlier named accused were beneficiaries of disproportionately soft judgments. If this is the case, can public opinion not play a part in correcting this?I genuinely wonder what would have happened if the members of public had taken a phlegmatic stand in the judgments of the lower courts in the cases of Ruchika or Priyanka. Would the higher courts have been sufficiently jolted into taking a harder look at those cases and bringing the accused who nearly got away to speedy justice? The public wasn't fully apprised of all the facts about the cases of Singh, Manu Sharma or Rathore and the public does not have full facts about the case involving Binayak Sen. But that hardly means based on publicly available information, we cannot speak out for those whom we believe may have been victims of excessive treatment at the hands of justice, just as some have been beneficiaries of opposite treatment.
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