Judges join pub­lic; slams gov­er­nance

They show their dis­gust at the fail­ing stan­dards of gov­er­nance and the in­ept dis­pen­sa­tion ma­chin­ery

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Rakesh Bhat­na­gar & Kanu Sarda

New Delhi: It’s rare that to see judges join pub­lic in their out­cry for jus­tice. But a spurt of grue­some crime against women and the re­cent gang rape and mur­der of a girl in Delhi, forced them to shed their tra­di­tional in­hi­bi­tions.

Some former supreme court judges minced no words in show­ing their dis­gust at the fail­ing stan­dards of gov­er­nance and the in­ept dis­pen­sa­tion ma­chin­ery.

A sit­ting judge of the top court, Gyan Sudha Misra, was the first to break her ‘ si­lence’, say­ing “enough is enough”. Sim­i­larly, former Chief Jus­tice of In­dia, A S Anand, who had or­dered the trial of a former Pun­jab top cop KPS Gill for vi­o­lat­ing the mod­esty of a se­nior IAS of­fi­cer, told DNA that an amend­ment in law, spec­i­fy­ing ex­em­plary com­pen­sa­tion for the vic­tim, is also needed.

“The state is un­der obli­ga­tion to pro­tect all its ci­ti­zens and pro­vide speedy jus­tice,’’ Anand said. He added that in case of shoddy in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the po­lice, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­cerned must face pe­nal and ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tions.

He also feels that women judges and spe­cial pros­e­cu­tors must be en­gaged in the trial of the ac­cused, charged with of­fences of any kind of crime against women.

When con­tacted at Kot­tayam in Ker­ala, former SC judge K T Thomas, who had dealt with sev­eral cases of cru­elty against women, said, “I am ap­palled. Its not a case which has shocked my con­scious, it far more than that.”

He said the vic­tim’s tes­ti­mony must be recorded through video- con­fer­ences, which is pos­si­ble only when the courts are equipped with mod­ern tech­nolo­gies. “There’s need for proac­tive ju­di­ciary,” he said.

Ex­press­ing his an­guish, crim­i­nal lawyer KTS Tulsi finds fault with the dis­pen­sa­tion ma­chin­ery. He said, “The way the vic­tims and the wit­nesses are treated in our courts in cases of sen-

FRANCE F The max­i­mum pun­ish­ment is 20 years ye of im­pris­on­ment, im in cer­tain ce ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors, fa if the vic­tim vi is be­low 15 years ye of age sitive crimes, no one dares to par­tic­i­pate in the tri­als. Peo­ple are los­ing trust in the ju­di­ciary. A lengthy trial shat­ters the vic­tim’s hope of get­ting jus­tice.”

“With over 2,500 rapes re­ported in the last five years in the na­tional cap­i­tal, only 190 ac­cused were con­victed,” said Tulsi. He added, “The con­vic­tion rate is as low as 7.6% be­cause of our tardy pro­ce­dural trial sys­tem.” AUS­TRALIA The to­tal ef­fec­tive sen­tence for rape is seven years, though in some cases, rapists are given sus­pended sen­tences CZECH REPUB­LIC Sur­gi­cal cas­tra­tion of sex of­fend­ers who un­dergo the pun­ish­ment vol­un­tar­ily to es­cape tougher pun­ish­ment such as life im­pris­on­ment

Former at­tor­ney gen­eral Soli J Sorab­jee feels that fast- track courts and an ef­fec­tive wit­nesspro­tec­tion pro­gramme can sal­vage some dam­age done to the dis­pen­sa­tion sys­tem.

“I am grief- stricken by this case but to­day we should all take pledge to re­spect and pro­tect the dig­nity of women. Our em­pha­sis should be on sen­si­tis­ing the whole sys­tem. We should make the young gen­er­a­tion aware about the self de- fence and le­gal mea­sures,” said Sorab­jee.

Sorab­jee has de­manded that in the present case, the tri­als should be over in the next three months and strin­gent pun­ish­ment must be given to the per­pe­tra­tors. “Only then will the mes­sage reach the so­ci­ety at large,” he said.

Lawyer Re­becca John says the le­gal sys­tem tires out peo­ple.

“There are death sen­tences for mur­ders but have the mur­ders stopped? We have to un­der­stand that de­mand­ing death sen­tence for rapists won’t ben any good till the con­vic­tion rates do not in­crease.” John said, the need of the hour was “skill­ful de­ter­mined pros­e­cu­tion and a sen­si­tised court en­vi­ron­ment.”

An­other former Delhi high court judge, SN Dhin­gra, said, “We have fast- track courts for cor­rup­tion cases, but hu­man lives are more im­por­tant. Cor­rup­tion cases can wait.”

The supreme court, in Fe­bru­ary last year, had sought to mel­low down the of­fence of gang rape to some­thing like a com­pound­able of­fence.

A bench of jus­tices Markandey Katju ( now chair­man of the Press Coun­cil of In­dia) and Gyan Sudha Misra sub­sti­tuted pun­ish­ment in a rape case with mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion.

In the Baldev Singh ver­sus State of Pun­jab case, three men had gang raped a woman. Since gang rape in­volves min­i­mum 10 years of rig­or­ous im­pris­on­ment, the ac­cused were con­victed un­der sec­tion 376 ( 2) ( g) of IPC and were sen­tenced to 10 years of im­pris­on­ment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each.

The ac­cused had ap­pealed to the top court, stat­ing that they had en­tered into a com­pro­mise with the vic­tim and that she had ac­cepted com­pen­sa­tion in lieu of pun­ish­ment for the ac­cused. The bench up­held the con­vic­tion but re­duced the sen­tence. How­ever, they di­rected the con­victs should pay a sum of Rs50,000 each to the vic­tim en­vis­aged un­der sec­tion 376 of the IPC

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.