Does justice look this monstrous?

Whatever little bit of respect I had for some of the ‘mainstream’ media, is shrouded in agitation today. Almost every channel from one of the acclaimed ‘world-democracy’ flashed the news of ‘ Kasab sentenced to death – justice served’. It is of great misfortune that common brains are being fed with such contaminated views and disdain prevails in our thoughts and comprehensions. I do not want to get into the legal implications of the trial or the verdict and nor the sentence is of much of sensation as almost everyone knew the outcome of the trial. But the larger question seems to be that would we ever be able to see justice beyond injustices and retribution? While I agree that law enforcement has to fulfill its responsibilities to protect the citizens of a country, at the same time I think the civil society of a ‘democratic nation’ should deconstruct the given rhetoric that is made to believe as absolute legal truth and should shed light on the unseen and untold and at least attempt to free the incarcerated notions of justice.

Can justice be this monstrous? I do not think so. There are two debates, the former is the carnage instigated by the so called ‘terrorists’ on 26/11 in Mumbai and the latter is the debate on how to find solutions and solidify the concept of justice for the ones who suffered and the ones who will suffer. However, the enraged, disillusioned and infected brains seem to have sacrificed the latter over the politics of the former. I have to admit that I have no relationship with the person in question, but have huge stakes in how the concept of justice is formed and reformed through misdeeds of individual’s predatory acts. However, if we go beyond the individuals, we will be able to explore the bouts of mistrust, agony and contingent injustices that exist in systems and social spaces in which these individuals are socialized, poised and monopolized.

There is no doubt that we live in the times of increased contentions and violence among diverging agendas and politics, but we are tempted to victimize the victim rather than curbing the agenda and politics that create and recreate violence and culminate the end of humanity. I can never reconcile the two, that by sentencing a young victim, we will scare anyone else who would plan to do the same. Ironically, the same argument can be used by the fathers of terror to attract more young voices in avenge. Indeed, some of our experiences in Afghanistan reveal that militants have been able to gin up support from youth when the youth were emotionally provoked after seeing the injustices and violence of the government systems and their allies.

I could not believe to hear Haroon Hamid of the DAWN Media Group replying to an audience question on NDTV show (6th May 2010) with Barkha Dutt that ‘terrorism is created in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a victim of it as well as India’. I wondered what happened to the media ethics of the news channels that he run, if nothing else matters to him including the truth. He didn’t even try to unravel the systematic, political and social space that gave birth to discontent and violence transformed into terrorism through the weapons of the same system in Pakistan and the region rather than indulging into a merely political blame game. While the political agendas of some groups and factions entail creating terror and monopolize on religious and nationalistic sentiments of masses, there is an enabling environment that embraced and accepts the invitation and both the agenda and the enabling environment have a symmetrical relationship with the terror and violence that we see in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Let’s also not forget and not trivialize the dynamics of social spaces in which we live and see others live, that foster reprisal and revolt by witnessing chronic poverty, famine and increased gaps between different members of the same society. The fragmentation of social spaces within the feudal society as a creation of the capitalist market paradigm that embodies injustice and tremendous rage among youth that not only created Kasab but hundreds of Kasabs in the making. However, for sure any struggles to absolve the process would be trying to rupture the status quo, something that the gatekeepers of the feudal society and their political agenda’s will not allow or approve of and we will be getting used to death sentence of one after another and would have accepted that justice is rendered. Unfortunately, the emerging trajectories do suggest that in quest of conformity with the popular imagination of our ‘independent’ media, we will not be able to recognize the just face of justice anymore but will seek satisfaction in more resentment, discontent and retribution.

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Are We in The Wrong Hands? Credibility of Indian Judiciary on Sale

In India we have Separation of Powers in a check and balance form. The three organs of the government i.e. the executive, the judiciary and the legislature have the responsibility to keep a check on the functions of the other.

Independence of Judiciary is an important feature to maintain rule of law and constitutionalism in the country. It is necessary that the judiciary is free from every political obligations. The independence of judiciary is granted by the constitution to protect the rights of the citizens, but unfortunately nowadays it is protecting the rights of the judges.

There are various instances in which the judges have taken bribery, misappropriated cases or favoured the executive in order to secure high posts in commissions after their retirement. Judges like Late Justice Sinha who had the courage to treat Mrs Indira Gandhi as a normal accused are rare to find these days. He sacrificed all his political prospects for proper justice.

But today the hard reality is that not all but most of the judges are either corrupt or disinterested in the judicial process. One of the practicing Supreme Court Lawyers told me that either the judges sleep or the inquire. He was right in all sense. India has had many landmark judgments, some of them have made us proud some haven’t. Some have ensured that the principles of equity are upheld no matter how dangerous it proves to the executive, and some of them have favoured the government in every circumstance.

The judicial trial enjoys special privilege, so criticism with caution is required. But why? In a democratic country like India we should be allowed to criticize any decision of the  judiciary as we can criticize the act of the legislature.  Why is there a need to grant them a special privilege. Moreover if there is a constant fear of criticism the judges would be more accountable to the public. If a person is not satisfied with the process, he must not be forced to remain silent in order to maintain the dignity of the court.

The Indian Judiciary has been given powers to protect the rights of the individuals. These powers are not given to them to exercise it in their own interests. I agree the Indian Judiciary had eminent judges like Baghwati CJ, Hidyatullah CJ and Sinha J who have made the nation proud time and again. But it is also a reality that Judges like Dinakaran have also served the Indian Judiciary.

When the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Mr Dinakaran charged of allegations like acts of corruption and acquisition of disproportionate wealth and helping the mining mafia of the Reddy brothers to continue with rampant illegal mining. He came out with the excuse that because he is a Dalit Christian he is being targeted. But I’m sure if asked few questions his answer might be different. Like Why aren’t other dalit judges being the targeted? or Have these people deliberately enhanced the assets owned by you? and If such injustice was being done to you being a judge why didn’t you raise your voice earlier?

It is absurd that a judge of the stature is talking the defence of the social milieu to get rid of his loathsome acts. The charges against him are very serious and if proven true he should not only be impeached but should also be punished.

The motion, prepared by advocate Vaigai of Forum for Judicial Accountability, under Article 217 of the Constitution read with Article 124 (4) of the Constitution says: “This House resolves that an address be presented to the President for the removal of Mr. Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran, also known as Mr. Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran Premkumar, from the office of Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court for his following acts of misbehaviour, viz., possessing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income; unlawfully securing five Housing Board plots, in favour of his wife and two daughters; entering into Benami transactions prohibited and punishable under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988; acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond ceiling limit under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961; illegal encroachment on Government and public property to deprive Dalits and the poor of their right to livelihood; violation of the human rights of Dalits and the poor; destruction of evidence during official enquiry; obstructing public servant on duty.”

It is shameful for the judiciary that Karnataka’s Chief  Justice might be impeached on the grounds mentioned above. Even if the charges are false, how can we expect a normal person to have trust in judiciary when the  Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR) and Forum for Judicial Accountability (FJA) themselves are doubtful about the conduct of judges. This instance has shaken the faith of people in judiciary. And it is unfortunate that even if the charges are proved, and it is somehow established that Mr Dinakaran took bribery in some cases, the victims would still be remedy less.

Thus those who know that injustice was done to them would now know that it was not done by mistake of interpretation but by a deliberative motive. Their position would remain the same even if the reality is known to everyone. The good thing is that the prospective judgments would yield injustice only because of mistakes of judgement and not premeditated acts of injustice.

It is ironical that the world justice is attached to Chief Justice of any High Court and Supreme Court of the country, it is not that linguistics were short of vocabulary but it was because they wanted to associate notions of justice with the judge who had the highest accountability and responsibility in delivering a judgment.

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