Cry for speedy justice

Cry for speedy justice

The efficacy of any well-intentioned act depends primarily upon its timing. The outpouring of outrage over the brutal gang rape of a young woman in Delhi was spontaneous and genuine. Sonia Gandhi made the right move by speaking to the protesters and assuring them that the guilty would swiftly be punished. Unfortunately the timing was not correct. The gesture, if made earlier, would have calmed anger in the protesters. The Prime Minister's statement also did not have the desired effect because of bad timing. He should have addressed the nation the day after the barbaric incident. Obama in a similar situation would probably have met the protesters. Home Minister Shinde's statement again was too late. The decision to remove the rape victim to an excellent specialised hospital in Singapore was good but it was again badly timed. It is well known that Safdarjung hospital despite having good doctors does not have the necessary equipment and facilities for treatment of the rape victim in view of the injuries that she had suffered. What was the real reason for the delay? At the time of writing this piece she is said to be in a very critical stage. Everyone prays for her recovery.

The strong cry for justice in the present case symoblises citizens' anguished cry for removing delays in law and ensuring speedy justice. Owing to inordinate delays in the justice delivery system litigants turn to the mafia to secure justice. This is a dangerous phenomenon which if not promptly corrected would lead to subversion of the rule of law.

One redeeming star in this dark firmament is government's appointment of a Commission of Inquiry and the composition of its members. The Chairman Justice J.S. Verma combines legal acumen with pragmatism, does not believe in rhetoric but in real practical solutions. To my mind the crux of the matter is a swift trial which should mandatorily conclude within 3 months followed by stringent punishment as also compensation for the rape victim and her family members. Let the focus not be deflected by insistence at this stage upon death penalty on the rapist and his castration.

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