Monday, September 14, 2015

Justice and Religious Bias: A Never Ending Debate

30th July'15, the much awaited verdict in the 1993 Mumbai blast was finally executed with the hanging of one of the prime accused, Yakub Memon, at Nagpur Central Jail at around 6:30 am IST. But not before creating a ruckus throughout the country, mercy petitions flying, support swarming in from all sections. A never seen before (at least first for me) midnight Supreme Court bench called as a last desperate mercy attempt to save the accused!! While for many this was justice delivered finally after a 22 years long wait but for others this was an opportunity to yet again divide India on religious lines under the garb of secularism. Essentially this was projected in the same manner in the media so as to fuel the divide and spark an unnecessary conflict. So the question arises, is a culprit's religion a deciding factor for whether or not he would be punished?

Taking a moment back into that horrific afternoon of 15th March'93 when Mumbai then called Bombay was rocked by 13 bombs which exploded in quick succession ripping through the city's most iconic buildings, beginning with the Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India building in the south to the Sea Rock hotel at Land's End in the west. The deadly explosions left around 257 deceased and 1,400 injured.

"Faith in Judiciary" "Justice Prevailed" are actually statements which some how are irrelevant if it takes 22 freaking years and whole lot of tax payers money, a historic 3 am supreme court hearing and of course exhausting of all decide whether a terrorist was actually a terrorist and whether he should be given a capital punishment? And then we have our so called guardian angels of humanity - 5 Star Activist, Adarsh Liberals, Pseudo Seculars, Anti-Nationals, Presstitutes and Communal Elements who want to score brownie points and use this as an opportunity to serve their ulterior motives and spread out a message of  "Injustice", "Religious Bias" "Anti-Minority" etc.

Okay!! One may agree that there are cases where justice still awaits or denied or may not be as severe as it should be basis the nature of crime. There may be people who might have not even been convicted despite their alleged involvement. But then its too unfortunate that we look at them with colored glasses - a religious bias, that they belonged to the major community etc and hence the judiciary is biased. One shouldn't be that naive or blind to not be able to see through it.

As for the media they are two steps ahead - raising particular names and highlighting that the country's judiciary has been biased as these so called culprits belong to majority community. The same lame argument. I mean lets take this example 22 years is hell of a trial time. A bias judgement would have meant an expedited, one sided trial and immediate prosecution. If we break it down further, 22 years to present his defence, pleas and petitions and even on death row the historic 3 am hearing clearly shows that all legal resources to save the criminal were exhausted. So essentially that makes it fair even from accused perspective considering the time allotted. Media was quick to jump guns and blame government calling them fascist. All the sane arguments were completely crushed under the furore of breaking news and biased debates.

But then on cynical side of all this commotion one should see its not the religion that is being saved but it highlights the opportunity areas in our judicial system that needs a fix. Power, Influence and Money factors are playing a role in the back drop and eventually how strong or how weak a case is presented, are other influential factors. We can be selectively blind to ignore examples right in front of us like celebrities involved in heinous crimes but still roaming free after series of trails and petition after petitions. Former ministers with rampant corruption charges are roaming scot free. Rapist, murders etc getting released on bails not because of their religion but because of money, backing and of course the presentation of the case. End of day the famous proverb comes to light "Kanoon Andha Hota Hai" in other words law needs proof on platter.

So opportunity lies not only to fix the existing system but also to have a more rational outlook and to be able see and judge beyond our prejudices!