Monday, July 27, 2015

Judiciary above Suspicion..............Power & Politics / The Sunday Standard/ July 26, 2015

Judiciary Above Suspicion in Pronouncing Justice, Irrespective of Blood Colour of Criminals

Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon

Yakub Memon is not a religion. It’s a proper noun like other names, such as Kehar Singh who was hanged for the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and Renuka Shinde and sister Seema Gavit who are on death row for murdering five children. All of them belong to different faiths and communities. But they share one thing in common. All have committed the rarest of rare crimes and were sentenced to go to the gallows. Yet, some ill-liberals have chosen to splash communal paint on the verdicts as if some names are above the law while the owners of some others must face the noose if they have taken the lives of others. Unfortunately, such insensitive remarks are being raised by a couple of minority community leaders who forget that it is the Indian judiciary that has always corrected illegal distortions in its own system. Ever since the Supreme Court rejected Memon’s clemency petitions, the knives are out to destroy its credibility. Shamelessly spraying criminal justice with communal hues, a few self-appointed leaders belonging to India’s peace-loving Muslim community are questioning the independence of the judiciary. They choose to forget that it has taken over 22 years for the prosecuting agencies to get justice for the 257 innocents who were massacred in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Starting from the trial court all the way to the apex court, Memon, helped by his advocates and ill-liberal accomplices, was given enough fair opportunities to prove his innocence. It is only in India that the judiciary and the executive take such time-consuming and vigorous scrutiny of each and every piece of evidence at multiple levels. Many times, the prosecution and the judiciary have been at the receiving end of vituperative vocabulary for unnecessarily delaying the delivery of criminal justice. It is quite possible that a section of the judiciary may have erred in some cases, but their intent has never been malicious or prejudiced.
Now, the Indian judiciary is being accused of a communal bias. It is stupendously shocking to note the rising tendency among conscience-peddlers to attack or support court verdicts selectively. Obstreperous social activists are sitting in judgment to decide the merit of judicial verdicts. Judges are expected to deliver sentences to suit the convictions of these amoral advocates of expedience, and not by the law book. If a verdict is against their political ideology or personal preferences they take to the streets, condemning it as unsound and illogical. For them, Yakub’s death sentence is not a correct interpretation of evidence. They conveniently forget that for one Yakub Memon, there are more than a hundred Pulaham Rama Raos, Kattar Singhs, Gurdeep Singhs, Babbanna Patils and Mukul Behari Lals who have been hanged during the past 70 years. Why don’t the liberal lamenters find fault with the judiciary for singling out Hindus for capital punishment? Of the 700-odd criminals hanged since Independence, not more than 65 are Muslims. In a majority-minority state like Jammu and Kashmir, not a single Muslim has ever been hanged. This doesn’t mean the local judiciary has spared criminals with any particular religious tag. In fact, it has considered each case on its merit and not by the name of the accused. For the past few months, even heinous crimes like rapes have acquired political and religious pigmentation. While rape and abduction cases in states like West Bengal are either ignored or underplayed by the ill-liberals, the spotlight is directed on the ones occurring in states run by NDA governments. From their commentaries on social media, it can be gleaned that the colour of Yakub’s blood is different from that of Sharma, Yadav, Reddy, Jacob, Singh and Tomar.
It is only the Indian judiciary, which keeps India’s inclusive character intact. The increase in opinionated attacks on the justice system is aimed at maiming the secular character of our Constitution. In the past, the judiciary has faced criticism for catering to class interests, but has rarely been accused of a communal bias. The idea behind questioning verdicts against terrorists like Yakub, Afzal Guru and Kasab smacks of a conspiracy to divide not only political parties but also the judiciary along communal lines. The latter has usually chosen the path of leniency or mild censure instead of taking penal action against even those who have made personal accusations against the integrity of senior judges. But, what is most dangerous for a vibrant and tolerant democracy like India is the rising agitational anarchy in the name of secularism which aims to deliberately link judicial pronouncements with vote banks.
It is usual for leaders of various political parties to take up cudgels on behalf of criminals belonging to a particular community in order to mobilise votes. Illogical arguments are bandied to condemn judicial decisions. For example, Yakub’s supporters are saying that while he is likely to be hanged, those behind other riots have been spared, or are treated with kid gloves. Some of the Memonites have even gone to ridiculous lengths to debate whether Yakub was actually arrested or whether he surrendered himself—as if this differentiation would atone for the loss of human lives.
It is only in India that freedom of expression is turned into an excuse to diminish the credibility of institutions. Since the Indian judiciary has stood the test of difficult times and stood steadfast with total independence, it acts as the only check on anarchist and undemocratic forces. It has judiciously applied the best standards of scrutiny on every criminal, irrespective of whether he or she was a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or from any other religion. Many a time, the judiciary has faced threats to its independence from the executive and the political establishment. Now, a formidable coalition of ill-liberals, communalists, internationalists and atheists are trying to intimidate it. Since there is no section in any law book that provides a palette of different colours for blood, the Indian judiciary is being pressured to pick one and deliver justice going by the colour of the blood of a criminal or a terrorist. Fortunately, in the Indian judiciary, justice is not blind.; Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

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