Tuesday, April 24, 2007

LAW IS A ASS?

The defendant, in Breunig v. American Family Insurance Co., 45 Wisc. 2d 536, 173 N.W.2d 619 (1979), testified that the reason why she struck the plaintiff's truck with her automobile was simply because she knew that God was driving her car, and more importantly, she knew that if she accelerated into the truck, she would be able to fly because Batman is able to fly.

This woman was obviously psychotic. I mean come on, everyone knows Batman can't fly!

Before you wonder as to where I am heading; ponder on the judicial proceedings in this country. I am beginning to feel despondent. You can be driven to becoming "psychotic" particularly if you are a victim.

Take for example the recent hit and run case involving a certain Allister Pereira, you can also follow this link: www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070009486 and read the cold facts of an earlier hit and run case that was loaded with miscarriage of justice.

"In law, the accused has a million ways to escape. But the victim is consigned to the gallows"

"There is a place in our courts for the judge, the accused, the lawyers and witnesses. But there is no seat for the victim though his/her plight remains central to the case."

—Former solicitor general K.T.S. Tulsi

Our legal system favours the accused and not the victim. To enumerate:

  • The victim and his/her family are not involved in court proceedings, except when summoned as witnesses. (It should be pointed out that this has been the system prevalent in other countries too, but there it is for the victim’s protection.)
  • The victim is represented by the public prosecutor engaged by the state. The accused can hire lawyers of his/her choice. (Elsewhere public prosecutor’s post is a coveted one and he/she is held accountable. In India there is no accountability of a public prosecutor. He/she gets time-bound promotions not linked to performance)
  • The victim or his family cannot file an appeal against an unfair verdict. That is the state’s prerogative. The victim’s side can only file a revision petition on grounds of procedural oversight. (This is why the media and the public joined hands in the recent review of the Jessica Lal & Priyadarshini Mattoo cases.)
  • Rights of the accused, including right to silence, is detailed in law. It is, however, silent about the victim’s rights.
  • The accused has the right to know the evidence framed by the prosecution. The victim has no access to information from the defence side.
  • If the accused is influential, he/she can tamper with evidence, compromise investigators, even judges. (It is now a known fact that judges in India are corrupt. There is no procedure under law to censure the judge, though his judgement can be questioned in an appeal, and subsequently censured)
A sitting high court judge has put it rather bluntly: "More than just being helpful to the accused, the system really works for the rich accused." Add to this a less than transparent police, and you have a situation where the guilty in what are apparently open-and-shut cases walk away scot-free.

The criminal system in India is in shambles. Accused are walking free, there is poor collection of evidence and there are innumerable instances of miscarriage of justice – all examples of a deep-rooted malaise in our criminal system. Recent studies show that the conviction rate in Indian courts is one per cent. The accused manage to get away in 99 percent cases.

Does make me wonder – Law is a Ass? … Or perhaps is itself a victim?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very well said Sir.But I think,we need solutions for this.May be a change in our legal system?

Harsha

Ankur said...

I agree sir!
But I don't think anything can be changed!