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Clean Up The Augean Stables Of The Judicial World

Clean Up The Augean Stables Of The Judicial World

We demand instant justice!, thus goes the  public outcry. Speedy justice!, the victims scream. Justice is never ought to be instant. Follow procedure, says CJI Bobde. Yes, no!, the political world is divided. Well, yes, but..., the tongue-tied activists babble. TV channels have enough fodder. Social Media daring and baring!

This is the cacophonic India when it comes to the question of sanity in matters of justice. The nation is still grappling with the nerve shattering effects of the incident of the burning of the 23 year old Unnao rape victim on Dec.5 by the very same rapists. She later died in a Delhi hospital. Shivam Trivedi, the key accused had been released on bail five days ago on Nov. 30, and his colleague Shubham bared their fangs once again on the same rape victim.

According to police reports, a woman poured inflammable liquid on her minor daughter outside Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital on Saturday afternoon, demanding justice for the Unnao victim. It was a consummate example of public anger. This blazing public anger is coming to a climax, as it were, after the gruesome rape and murder in Hyderabad and in other parts of India. The agony of a mother who gave birth to her girl child and her gripping fear that her child could be the next victim! Then, one can imagine the pain of the mother of the Unnao victim whose charred body was all that remained of her daughter who was the victim of rape by the same people earlier.

Mi Lord Bobde, it was sensible of you to have cautioned those who seek or execute instant justice. Justice should not be instant. Follow procedure. The courts are there. There is the judicial system. The Government is there as the Public prosecutor. Why to fear? Allow the wheels of justice to turn at their own speed. Do not hasten up the speed on your own! Yes, this could be what you mean.

There are quite many who ask: Then, why speedy justice is a foregone conclusion in the judicial world? Rapists get released so easily on bail. They come out and dare to bare their fury against the same victim they had raped and, then burn her alive. Wah, what instant justice they execute for accusing them of rape! What speedy justice claimed by the accused! What instant revenge!

Speedy justice to the victim is a fundamental right, Mi Lord! We all, the jury and the pedestrian, need to be reminded of the verdict of the Supreme Court on speedy trial and justice: Speedy  trial is of the essence of criminal  justice and there can be no doubt that ... it is an integral and essential part of the  fundamental right to life and liberty , Article 21.1980 SCC (Cri) 40 : AIR 1979  SC 1369 : 1979 Cri LJ 1045, the ... State of Bihar, ( 1986) 4 SCC 481 :  1986 SCC (Cri) 511 : ( 1986) 3 SCR 802.

“No procedure which does not ensure a reasonably quick trial can be regarded as “reasonable, fair or just” and it would fall foul of Article 21. There can, therefore, be no doubt that speedy trial, and by speedy trial we mean reasonably expeditious trial, is an integral and essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty enshrined in Article 21.”

If speedy trial is a fundamental right and speedy justice an adjunct of right to life, Art. 21, then why litigations are dragging on? Why more than one thousand Fast Track Courts reportedly are still to be set up? Who is responsible?  When the public are frustrated, they ask their elected representatives hard questions. Why, and why not! Public anger and public pressure build up. The government has to show at least a semblance of justice. The police are under pressure. Result: Instant and speedy justice. If this procedure is wrong, then clean up the Augean stables of the judicial world and the backyards of the government administration.

(Published on 16th December 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 51)