The Judiciary and Its Role

Gitanjali Maria:

The Supreme Court ruling upholding Manu Sharma’s life sentence in the Jessica Lall murder case has helped close the 11 year long case and also affirmed the faith of the masses in the judiciary. It was felt that convicting the powerful and rich was a tough task and near impossible and that these classes could commit any crime and get away with it. The SC’s ruling in the Jessica Lall murder case affirms the stand that all are equal in the eyes of the law.

In India, where politicians and bureaucrats can bend and break the rules as they want and evade the consequences with ease, the judiciary has to stay on firm ground to dispel the fear of the masses and to be an estate free of corruption that the common man can always approach.

A lot of cases are present in our country where we have high profile perpetrators walking free and talking non-sense. From politicians to bureaucrats and their family members, many of them have evaded the law for too long. The Priyadarshini Matto case and the Ruchika Girhotra case, in both of which high ranking Police officials were involved, are other instances in India where power and money have influenced the judgement in the courts. Moreover honest and courageous persons who stand up and fight the injustices and corruption in the system are also at the receiving end. Satyadenra Dubey and Manjunath were bold enough to stand up to the system and point out the loop holes and inefficiencies in the respective organizations/projects they were working on. And the reward they got for it was death. Till date many of the actual culprits behind such heinous crimes have not been apprehended.

The witnesses are many a times threatened or bought over by money or other promises and this too affects the smooth functioning of the judiciary. The witnesses turn hostile to their own statements recorded during the FIR investigations leading to delay or even in some cases de-railing the judgements. This is primarily due to fear of the perpetrators who have high connections and influence. Only when we have equally courageous people who are not lured by the sight of money or shaken by the folded fists of perpetrators can true justice be delivered. Only when one is at the receiving end of the crime does one understand the thirst for justice.

The knowledge that nobody is above the law and that it is equally binding to all should be taught to all youngsters, especially those coming from influential families as they are more often connected with such cases. The law is equally applicable to the enforcers as well as to their kith and kin. The fact that so many convicted people hold decision making power in the legislative assemblies is another reason why justice cannot be speedily and easily be delivered in our country. Tainted and corrupted ministers raise questions as to how successful our judicial and administrative estates are.

The long delay in ensuring a verdict also leaves many of those fighting for it tired and weary. The ‘n’ number of times one has to climb the stairs of the same offices to get a paper signed or verified, the slippery stance taken by the terrified witnesses and the endless postponements and change of bench delays delivering justice. And justice delayed is justice denied. Fast track courts and others have been established to clear cases fast, but still we have a lot more to do if people are to have complete faith in the third estate of the democracy.

We need a transparent and clean judicial system to repose the faith of people in the government and to have a crime-free society. Fast disposal of cases with adequate punishment meted out to the real culprits is a necessity to check the rising crime levels. There are many cases of brutal crimes that do not get enough media coverage; but if justice can be delivered even to those, the people affected by them may get some respite and peace.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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