Saturday, September 5, 2015

Editorial, "ONE EYE FOR MANY EYES", in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 July 2015 issue, Vol. 11, Part 2, No. 14.


Was it nothing but the much-reviled practice of ‘tit for tat: eye for eye’ about which Mahatma Gandhi quipped that it would make the whole world blind; or was it just the correct, though much-delayed, operation of the ‘rule of law’ bringing to book the culprits of the gory Bombay Blasts – a meticulously planned and perpetrated mayhem resulting in  257 dead and about 700 injured on 12 March 1993: most of it allegedly planned from the Al-Hussaini Building, Mahim, home of the Memons. Though the main accused Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind, and Tiger Memon, the real man in command, are still at large, lavishly spending their lives under the protective wings of Pakistan, Memon’s brother Yakub Memon, who is convicted for distributing the funds, arranging for the travel to and training of bomb/grenade handlers at Pakistan, and also for distributing grenades to local agents, etc. but who is said to have surrendered to the CBI on 28 July 1994 “to help the investigating authorities and clear the stigma on … family (in his own words)” could not escape the rigors of law and was at last hanged in  the morning of 30 July 2015 amidst high sensational real life drama. Former Supreme Court Justice and now Press Council Chairman, Justice Katju stood in the forefront of thousands of dissenters, accusing the country’s governance system of a travesty of justice, mainly due to this death sentence being possible only because of the much reviled, protested and let lapse draconian law – TADA – which reversed the burden of proof and also made confessions to the police officers admissible, as against the deep-rooted, near universal, jurisprudence of presumption of innocence of the accused and non-admissibility of confessions to a police officer. In this detail we agree with Justice Katju but cannot find much fault with the Apex Court and the judicial system of lapses in adhering to the rule of ‘law as existing’. However, statesmanship and foresight seem to be clearly absent in the present and past rulers [Afzal Guru’s was a similar, but worse, case] who take to such unnecessary/undesirable measures fraught with dangerous consequences, forgetting the wisdom of the ages, embodied in our cultural traditions too, that often mercy and compassion win the war of minds and avert deadly clashes of arms. §§§

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