Vande Mataram

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A point of odour. May it please you, Justice Katju!

We've been hearing a lot of lament about delayed and denied justice to the affected parties, particularly with regards to the violence happened after the Godhra train massacre in 2002, from Mr. Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju. He has earlier raised this point with a suggestion that all the scents of Arabia will not be sufficient to get rid of the bad odour of the violence. When Justice Katju faced opposition for the tenor of his essay, he was pretty determined not to listen to the other side. He has now gone over to Pakistan through it's newspapers and spoken against the Gujarat Chief Minister, probably for the convenience of a like minded audience without an iota of opposition to his views.

But that is not the case in Pakistan. Justice Katju is viewed as a person who has called his fellow countrymen idiots. Pakistani intellectuals wish to prove him wrong on his claim that Pakistan was an artificial conception of the British to divide India, planted through Barrister M.A. Jinnah. They laugh at Justice Katju's prediction (rather hallucination) that Pakistan and India would reunite in the next 15-20 years with a strong, powerful, modern minded and secular Government ruling the new establishment. They even reiterate the claims of Barrister Jinnah that the Hindu - Muslim differences are not bridgeable. They are very much keen to preserve the nationhood offered by Barrister Jinnah.

The above views are not from any minion in Pakistani streets, but from an influential thinker and one of the key foreign policy makers Shamshad Ahmad, who is a retired Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. Mr.Ahmad questions the authority of Justice Katju to speak about the happenings of pre-independence, since His Honour would have been only months old during the time of partition. Though I fully endorse the views of a fake two nation theory being planted by the British, I still say Justice Katju deserves this belittling. He has been ridiculed by the Pakistanis to whom he went for support for his anti-Modi stand.

Well, on the violence happened after the Godhra train massacre, Justice Katju says the guilty has to be punished harshly at all costs. Well said, Mr. Justice! Justice Katju's take on the fact that Mr.Modi was not convicted by any court of law for the 2002 violence appears to be truly from his conscience. Justice Katju said, "I do not want to comment on our judiciary, but I certainly do not buy the story that Modi had no hand in the 2002 events". I would like to take his stand about our judiciary with the context of an acquittal by the Bench occupied by His Honour Markandey Katju and Her Honour Gyan Sudha Mishra in 2011. The case in reference is Baldev Singh and others v. the State of Punjab, Criminal appeal # 740 of 2007. Is this case reference in context to the issue discussed or out of it? Should I care while responding to a statement that demeans the Judiciary of the nation and singles out one of the many religious skirmishes happened in our country post independence, by comparing it with Nazism?

In the case in reference (Appeal # 740 of 2007) a gang of three rapists accused of gang raping a woman were let off with a reduced sentence and a financial penalty of Rs.50000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) each.

The gist of the case history is "that on 03.03.1997 at about 6.30 A.M. the prosecutrix was coming to her house after answering the call of nature. The three appellants caught her and took her into a house and raped her and beat her.  After police investigation the appellants were charge sheeted,  and after a trial were convicted under Section 376 (2) (g) and Section 342  I.P.C. and sentenced to 10 years R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- each".

The reasons given for the acquittal were unusually strange and upsetting. Here are they:
  • The incident was 14 years old.
  • The appellants had undergone 3.5 years of imprisonment.
  • The appellants were married don't wish this stain in their life.
  • They have reached a compromise with the victim.
  • The victim, upon the compromise agreement, wishes to drop the case.
  • The accused and the victim had no misunderstanding whatsoever.
  • Section 376 (2) (g) permits imposition of a lesser sentence for adequate and special reasons.
Indian penal Code under Section 376 (g), punishment for rape under clause (g) states whoever commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine.

What are the adequate and special reasons for a reduced sentence for such a heinous crime?

The convicts and victim were married (not to each other though) is not a valid logic for a reduced sentence for rape. The parties reached a compromise. Well, if that is the case, we can solve all the disputes by allowing the parties to reach a compromise. What is the basis for the compromise? The crime was committed, the guilty were punished and the victim was leading her life. What is the point of her coming to a compromise with the guilty? Was this even looked at? What was reason behind allowing a compromise in a clear non compoundable offence?

But when the same logic behind the judgement passed by this Honourable bench, of which Justice Katju was part of, is applied to Gujarat, His Honour wishes to dismiss the logic as flawed. There are no evidences incriminating  the accused, while the man is doing a good job in discharging his duties and the so-hyped victims of post Godhra violence visibly support the man, Mr. Modi, who is accused of aiding and abetting the violence. His Honour, as it appears from the tenor of his essay, views the Godhra violence with gross indifference stating that the accusations pertaining to this violence needs a thorough investigation, while according an unqualified acceptance to the accusations of the post Godhra violence. We wish to have a review of His Honour's learned opinion, as it smacks bias.

The double standards, employed by His Honour in Gujarat case,  is not a good practice. I would like concede His Honour a reason to beam with pride by viewing the Gujarat case from his stand against the Gujarat Chief Minister. Let us take a comparative look of Appeal # 740 of 2007 and the post Godhra violence of 2002 from the common man's stand point:

When the conviction of gang rape can be set aside based on trivial considerations of marriage of the offenders and age of the case, one fails to understand the reason behind His Honour's outburst against the Gujarat Chief Minister based on mere hear say allegations. It is not reasonable though, for people with jurisprudential responsibility to go silent on other violences in the nation and prefer to join chorus against one person against whom we have nothing but allegations based on lies and fabricated evidences. 

It is appalling that a bad precedence has been set in this case I believe, based on expert legal opinion, and therefore with due respect to the Judges I wish to disagree with their opinion. Now one understands the logic and reason behind the words of His Honour on the judiciary.

Violence in the name of religion is unpardonable. No second though on it. Then why were the perpetrators and culprits of the 1984 violence against Sikhs are still free and some in power too? Why has His Honour's jurisprudential audacity gone dead silent in that case? Why is His Honour mum on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who are rendered homeless and live like refugees in their own nation? There were a lot of violences in the nation post independence, with a religious background. We would like to know the whether the learned opinion of His Honour in those cases are the same as of his in the post Godhra violence. If not, then with all due respect Mr. Justice Katju, please stop your attempts to darken our brains.

One wonders perfumes from which region are need to be used to get rid of the odour created by His Honour when he preferred to discuss happily, the country's internal affairs with an enemy country.

May this point of odour too please you, Sir!

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