Last week a young Doctor in Hyderabad, age 25, was brutally raped and murdered by 4 monsters. After that they tried to burn the body and ran away. This caused huge uproar and the four suspects were caught within 24 hrs. They were sent into 14 days of police custody for further interrogation. It was also reported that they had accepted the crime. It appeared as if the justice was going to be done soon…
However, the public reaction was outrageous. People wanted the culprits to be hanged immediately. Jaya Bachchan, Rajya Sabha MP, even called for public lynching inside Rajya Sabha. And there was a reason, a precedence for this.
Seven years ago, in 2012, the brutal Nirbhaya case happened in Delhi. All people were finally (after 3 years) found guilty. All (except one) were sentenced to be hanged. One was a minor (actually 17 years, just below the legal definition of adult) and hence he was given few years of jail term. The guilty are yet (after 4+ years) to be hanged. The minor is now free. Many people feel that the justice was not done in that case, considering the brutality involved. As they: “Justice delayed is justice denied”
This has become a popular notion in India: “Justice delayed is justice denied“.
However that is only the half of the proverb. The second half is: “Justice hurried is justice buried“.
That’s what we experienced yesterday in the Hyderabad case.
The culprits were taken into custody, However, either the evidence was not sound, or it was feared that the legal process would not be swift enough or for some other reason (public pressure/sentiment mostly), the Hyderabad police planned a nasty plot.
All the four accused were taken to the murder site at 4 AM, so that they could tell police how the whole incident happened. Naturally the accused must have been handcuffed. Yet it was told that they snatched weapons from the armed police and opened fire. Police retaliated and all four accused got killed. This happened sometime between 5 AM and 6 AM.
When the news was out in the TV media and Social Media, everybody – from common man to celebrities to politicians – were celebrating the news. They felt, the “justice” was done!?
Very few sane voices questioned the authenticity of the extrajudicial encounter. Their voices were completely overpowered by the “celebrations”.
Ironically it happened on 6th December – the day when, 27 years ago, Babri Mosque was demolished by a mob; and that event too was “celebrated” and it led to a new “normal” in the country. The so-called public sentiment is now the main force to normalise such acts – to justify them and even celebrate them. It’s a sad precedence and the consequence is going to be devastating in the long term. It has already started. People have started demanding lynching and encounters of other rape accused. Mind you – of accused, not even convicts. This shows how broken our legal system is, and how people have lost faith in the due legal process and want “instant justice”.
That reminded me of the 2019 movie Section 375. Do watch it if you haven’t. Akshay Khanna’s character, a lawyer, in the movie says” “We are not in the business of justice. We are in the business of law”.
That’s so true! In Nirbhaya case of 2012, people are yet not hanged after 7 years, even though they are convicted. The law was followed. But people feel that justice was not done.
In Hyderabad case, no law was followed. Accused were not given a fair trial and were killed in extrajudicial encounter. And yet people feel that justice was done.
What’s correct? What is justice?
Following law is about process (Karma). Verdict or justice is the outcome (Outcome of Karma). Many Hindus who preach Bhagvad Geeta would say: Do your Karma. Don’t expect any results. Just follow Karma.
Then why would people not allow process (the law) to follow? Why are they so anxious to deliver the instant justice?
The reason is that people don’t have faith over the legal process, let alone the outcome.
I am currently experiencing the torture of legal system in India. I am following up on a simple legal case. After 1 year the case has not even started. Only “Taarikh pe Taarikh” – adjournments.
And hence people root for the other extreme. Instance justice, completely forgetting, or conveniently ignoring that “Justice hurried, is justice buried”.
Here are a couple of news reports which actually questioned the encounter by police. The rest are cheering for the heroic act.
The question asked by The Telegraph completely echoes my sentiments.
What are we celebrating? Is it OK to celebrate extrajudicial encounter? Is that the kind of justice system we want? Is it the end of rule of law?