Travesty of Justice………

It is said that “All are equal, in the eyes of law”.

However, how true is it and how fairly is it adopted in India, is questionable. Look at these classic cases, of politicians, sons of politicians, top beauracrats / police officers etc., have got away with impunity after having committed serious crimes against hapless individuals.

These people in high places, have used their power, muscle power, administration, the police and the government (politicians & bureaucrats) to suppress evidences, muzzle the opponents and influence investigating authorities and ultimately managing to go scot free or with minimum punishment despite glaring evidences of their involvement, much to the chagrin & disappointment of the hapless victims and the society at large.

History has been replete with all kinds of controversies which are illustrative of the malaise the Indian political structure is facing in the post-independence period.

Shibu Soren

To understand Indian politics, it would be interesting going through the life and times of Shibu Soren- another rags to riches politician. He who was born in an ordinary tribal family later rose to dizzy heights. He has been a member of the Parliament many a times and has also been a Union Cabinet minister more than once and even got his life-time ambition of becoming the Chief minister fulfilled when he reached this coveted post firstly for a few days, then second time and now in Jan 10, the third time thanks & courtesy the BJP party.

Shibu Soren has a earned nation-wide notoriety for his alleged role in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) case where there was a reported deal between the Congress and the JMM to save the then Narasimha Rao government during the July 1993 no-confidence motion, in what is popularly known as the JMM bribery scandal. He was ultimately jailed in the bribery case.

He has also been convicted by a Delhi district court in the murder of his private secretary Shashi Nath Jha in 1994 and awarded life term which was later set aside by the Delhi High Court in August, 2007 on some technical grounds. The case of his secretary’s death was vigorously investigated by the CBI. Jha’s skeleton was found in the jungles outside Ranchi almost two years after the killing. Soren first got convicted by a trial court but then managed to secure an acquittal as well. This was a case when Soren was already in the business of power.

But the Chirudih massacre case dates back to a time when Soren was a true revolutionary. He was accused of instigating a mob that killed nine Muslims and policemen in a battle between tribals and non-tribals.

In 2004, he became coal minister in the Manmohan Singh government. He was forced to quit the cabinet in July 2004 after a warrant pending against him in the Chirudih massacre surfaced.

Soren was again made a minister in the central government in October 2004. He quit the cabinet in March 2005 after becoming Jharkhand chief minister. But he failed to prove his majority in the assembly, and had to step down.

Soren was again inducted in the central cabinet in 2006. He had to leave the central cabinet again in October that year after he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his personal secretary Shashinath Jha.

He appealed, and was acquitted by the Delhi High Court in 2007. He has also been let off in the Chirudih massacre case.

But look at the impunity of this person who after having secured bail after spending over a month in judicial custody forced the UPA government to re-induct him into the Cabinet and was given back the same coal ministry. Soon, there was the Jharkhand state elections in 2005. After the results he became the CM for nine days and then resigned after his failure to obtain a vote of confidence in the assembly.

And despite all these badges of dishonor, the man remains completely unperturbed, undisturbed and unaffected as if these are part of a politician’s required bio-data.

DIG Rathore accused of molestation and abetment of suicide of Ruchika

It took 19 years, 16 witnesses, and ten years of court trial to convict S P S Rathore, the former DGP of Haryana, in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case. But Rathore was given bail after being sentenced for a six-month jail term and levied a Rs.1,000 fine by a CBI special court.

To unravel the details of the two-decade-long case, we need to travel back to 1990, when budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra was molested by the then Haryana IGP S P S Rathore and decided to file a complaint against him. But that complaint changed her life forever.

Ruchika was expelled from the tennis club, expelled from her school and harassed repeatedly to take back her complaint. In addition, her brother Ashu, who was also a teenager, was arrested and slapped with several charges of car theft. Her entire family was subjected to repeated harassment, till Ruchika decided to end her life in 1993.

However, the case did not end there. Aradhana, her close friend and a key witness in the case, decided to continue the fight. And Anand Prakash, her father, also joined the cause.

After nearly 450 visits to courts in different cities, Anand Prakash eventually succeeded in getting Rathore convicted. Soon after the conviction, there was a national uproar against the short sentence and treatment meted out in the case, and the untimely death of the young girl.

A second round of investigation revealed that Rathore had been protected by successive CMs of Haryana, especially former Haryana chief minister Chauthala, though he promptly denied it. This apart, Rathore influenced CBI officials and cops probing the case and asked them to turn a blind eye to the incident.

Now, fresh complaints are being pressed against Rathore for attempt to murder, abetting suicide, and it remains to be seen how the retrial will take shape.

Bitti Hotra, son of Orissa Police Officer, accused of allegedly raping a German Tourist

BB Mahanti, one of the senior most police officers of Orissa, is accused of helping his son, Bitti Hotra – a rape convict – jump parole and evade police arrest, after a fast track court in Rajasthan convicted his son for allegedly raping a foreign German tourist.

The court later issued a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant against the senior Mohanti on October 3, 2007 viable till November 15, after the Orissa police sought more time. The court has also directed the Cuttack district collector to prepare a list of the property of the senior IPS officer for forfeiture.

B B Mahanti and his son suddenly went into hiding when the duo saw the long hand of law catching up with them.

Unable to trace the senior Mohanti, the Cuttack police issued a public notice to the absconding officer on Dec 07 last year, declaring him a “proclaimed offender” who has been evading arrest since May 28, 2007. He subsequently surfaced and managed to get a bail and subsequent let off. However his son is still underground and efforts are on by the Police to track him and arrest him Rourkela, Puri, Sambalpur in Orissa, Bangalore, Andhra Pradesh, Putapurthy, Delhi and Calcutta.

All six ABVP students acquitted in Ujjain professor murder case

Professor Sabharwal, was the head of the political science department of Madhav College, Ujjain, died in August, 2009, after violence in the college over student union elections when he was allegedly beaten up by the ABVP activists. Later, he died in a hospital. The incident was captured on tape by media television crew and widely aired on all national TV Channels.

However, nearly three years after they were accused in the murder of college professor H S Sabharwal in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, six ABVP activists were acquitted on Monday by a court in Nagpur for lack of evidence.

“The prosecution has failed to put up evidence to prove its case and hence the court acquits all six accused,” Additional Sessions Judge Nitin Dalvi said in his brief statement today in the court.

The case was transferred from Ujjain to Nagpur court vide a Supreme Court order in March 2008 in view of the fear that investigations could be tampered with in Madhya Pradesh, which has a BJP government and all accused reportedly belonged to ABVP, the party’s student wing.

While the accused hailed the judgement as “justice done since we knew we were innocent”, the late Ujjain professor’s son Himanshu has decided to challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court. “My father died once again today. The verdict is disappointing but not unexpected since the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh successfully managed to sabotage the case,” he said.

“The prosecution agency was never serious about the probe,” he said. “The entire evidence was suppressed and the case was rendered mere eyewash. If the police would have been serious, they could have built an unassailable case.”

In all 69 witnesses were presented before the court, but all key witnesses, including three policemen, turned hostile, weakening the prosecution case.

This despite the fact video evidence in the form of media CDs that had witnesses saying they had seen the assailants doing the act.”

All these examples makes us wonder if there is real justice in India and is it a Traversty of Justice in this country. These high placed people have made a mockery of Justice and its unfortunate that the Judiciary system has not been able to check these cases and runs the risk of losing its credibility in the eyes of the people. Its one thing to hide behind the law “contempt of court”, when challenged but to be seen as fair and to restore its credibility, the Judiciary system has to unveil itself from the protectionism and rise to the occasion.

How often we have seen petty thieves, silent demonstrators and common man being thrashed, handcuffed and paraded in public by the police and then languishing in jail. How many politicians or high profile people have been convicted and senteced to punishment and really served their sentence in jail. Hardly any.

India has a long history and tradition of upholding “nyaya, dharma and needhi”. Will the present Judiciary system rise to the occasion, only time will tell.

Its in its own interest that the Judiciary lives by the principles of :

*All are equal before law and no one is above law
*Justice delayed is justice denied
*Justice must not only be done, but percieved to have been done

At the current state of affairs, Im afraid the Indian judiciary is not living upto these principles. Its time that the Judiciary realises this and rises to the occassion to instill some confidence in the people of India in the judiciary system.

Meanwhile its heartening to note that the media is filling in the gap and publicly trying these villains and mounting pressure on the Government, the administration and the Judiciary to relook at these cases and bring these perpetrators of justice to book and ensure punishment is commensurate to their acts of commission or omission. Its also heartening to note that the Government (Home Minister) is waking up and willing to reopen these cases and ensure proper justice is meted out to the victims.

Looks like P Chidambaram and Arnab Goswami are the last hope for the common man in their battle for “nyaya, dharma and needhi”.

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