No street justice

No street justice

Anna Hazare's movement against corruption undeniably galvanised the nation against corruption. The main reasons were deep public revulsion against pervasive corruption, the belief that the movement was non-political and Hazare was a moral crusader. Today the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement is admittedly political. Its methodology is to level grave allegations of corruption in public against public functionaries and public figures, assume the infallibility of these allegations, convert presumption of innocence into presumption of guilt and on that premise vociferously demand resignations and even arrest of the minister as in the case of Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise. Salman Khurshid at a press conference produced documents and materials to rebut the allegations. Kejriwal rejoined by producing more material. The same pattern was followed in the case of BJP President Nitin Gadkari and will probably be adopted in other cases. This is totally unacceptable.

The crucial point is that truth or otherwise of rival claims cannot be determined on streets or during press conferences or by raucous debates on television channels when the constitutionally ordained fora are courts of law where these matters can be determined dispassionately. If IAC has hard irrefutable facts it should file an FIR or adopt appropriate legal proceedings. It has no lack of legal talent or material resources. The argument that courts do not grant relief where ministers are involved is belied by judicial orders which resulted in Raja, Kanimozhi and other important public functionaries landing in jail. Salman Khurshid has filed a suit in the Delhi High Court and boldly taken the risk of his cross examination as a plaintiff in the witness box. It is argued that court proceedings are time consuming. But remember that hurried street justice is justice buried. Besides as observed by our Supreme Court, "As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained .".

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