Now don’t abuse our faith in the judiciary!

December 29th, 2012

The death of the Delhi bus gang rape victim is disturbing. Even as she struggled for her last breath, news of rapes from different parts of the country kept pouring in. The outburst of society has been nothing more than natural, which could have been handled better than ordering lathi charges on the protestors.

What has been most appalling is the orchestrated response of law-makers and the diminishing hope from the judiciary for a speedy trial.

In 1975, railway minister L N Mishra was murdered. The proceedings against the 65-year-old accused still continue after 37 years. Put judicial delays in context with almost no security guarantee for witnesses and our poor record in providing evidence to the court, results in criminals and corrupt politicians showing full faith in the judiciary, while victims and the common man are left facing the lathi-wielding police.

Let’s face it, this is a crisis of institution.  Now some of the politicians and the police would like the society to feel safer with setting up a new committee and promising more patrolling. It rather reminds me of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

Crime can be brought down with punishing the criminals and not just assuaging the victims. Bihar’s better performance in law and order is attributed to “fast track courts” and not to a change of heart in criminals.

Our problem is institutional and this is what we need to correct if we want to live in a safer society.  Remember that injustice is only apparently selective. If it is happening out there in the society, it can happen in anyone’s family.

We understand this but we need to channelise the energy in the right direction which is to bring speedy trial for rape cases. While death punishment is being debated, what else can you suggest for the bunch of criminals who gang rapes a girl destroying her organs which ultimately kills her?

Is six months to a year not enough to prove them guilty? Can someone talk about judiciary reforms? Can someone promise speedy trials of the accused? Can justice be delivered or would we be satisfied with rhetoric? Or is society ready even for the rape of people’s faith in the judiciary?

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