Law vs. Humanity

Akanksha Anand[1]

“A decision should not be made purely by following the texts; if it is lacking in reason and good sense, it causes great injustice” – Brihaspati Smriti

The principles of natural justice have come out from the need of man to protect himself from the excesses of organized power, man has always has appealed to someone beyond his own creation. Such someone is the God and His laws, Divine law or natural law, to which all temporal laws and action must confirm.

 To quote Article 21 of the Indian constitution states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except, according to “procedure established by law”. This right cannot be allowed to be violated by law, which is wholly unreasonable such law must be reasonable, fair and just. 

Then comes the concept of fair trial, it works on the principle of “audi alteram partem”, which means that no decision shall be given against a party without affording him a reasonable hearing. This rule is unable to meet ends of justice as the truth remains unheard and this has been proved time and again. The erroneous decisions given by courts, and thereafter an unending battle to get justice which even if won, is actually a loss. This shows that the lives of innocent people are on the mercy of courts and this due procedure established has nothing righteous and just about it.

The infamous instance of 2013 ,giving death penalty to Afzal guru[2] .The court gave the reason to give such punishment is because the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender . Looking at the evidences and instances of this case even the participation in the actual conspiracy was debatable of Afzal guru.

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a joint plea by six persons who sought compensation for their wrongful arrest in the Akshardham terror case from 2002. They were prosecuted and incarcerated for more than a decade and were acquitted some time ago by the same apex court.

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The cases of criminal victimization are still prevalent and gross miscarriage of justice takes place. In a recent case of Gopal @ Gopi Ramdas Shetye vs. The State of Maharashtra[3], where the accused was an innocent man and was convicted of the offence of rape which he never did. In pursuance of conviction he served 7 years in jail until his plea was finally heard in high court of Bombay where he was finally acquitted. After going through all this mental agony and as well physical pain this man again filed a petition in 2017 asking for euthanasia.

The case was filled in 2009 and the decision of acquittal came in 2015, after completing the sentence and then being acquitted for same was of no use to the man. His children were forced to live in orphanage and his wife remarried. He even asked for the compensation for the injustice done to him but with snail – pace his petition was being dealt with hence he decided to go for petition giving him permission to end his life. This all brings about the terrifying picture that can be put in most clichéd way that justice delayed is justice denied, as well error in giving decision cost a man his life and whatever he had thereby.

At the receiving end of such judicial arbitrariness and irresponsibility are the families of the innocent victims of persecution, hounded by a vengeful police force and an inefficient, corrupt intelligence apparatus.

In the recent times the definition of justice has evolved considerably wherein giving justice is not enough it should be administered in minimum time possible too. This is beneficial for the aggrieved as well as if any innocent is wrongly convicted he need not suffer more. The concept of compensation to the victims wrongly convicted should be given a thought because the mental agony, lost reputation, time spent in jail and the families suffering along with them, these loses can never be made good by only justice being given. Thus, compensation would help them starting a new and better life. The lacunas present in justice system should be dealt with immediately because these lead to miscarriage of justice.

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A bench of justices Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, rejected the appeal for compensation on the grounds that acquittal by a court did not automatically entitle those acquitted to compensation and if compensation is to be awarded for acquittal, it will set a ‘dangerous precedent.’

The judges can always make a distinction between the cases where compensation needs to be awarded or not. The facts and circumstances can be accordingly looked into by the judges in each case. It has far reaching consequences and implies that state can easily get away with irresponsible acts of hauling up innocent citizens and putting them behind bars for years until justice is given or even the extreme cases could be of fake encounters.

Last but not the least the major problem which can be one of the root because improper administration of justice, the strength of judges in lower courts, considered to be the backbone of justice delivery system, is extremely less. The figures state that there are approximately 48 judges over 10 lakh people in Delhi and the condition of other states is even worse. This all increases the workload and hence all the cases are treated as burden rather than been looked upon as a circumstance where justice is to be administered.

Law is made to ensure stability in the society, thus the trust of people in judicial system should not be hampered. The persons who are victims of law, for whom justice so administered is not justice should be dealt with immediately and at the first place not allowing such injustice to happen should be a concern for judiciary. Judiciary should not be an oppressor but a saviour.

[1] Student

[2] State v. Mohd. Afzal And Ors., 2003 (3) JCC 1669.

[3]  Gopi Ramdas Shetye v. The State of Maharashtra, No. 902. Appeal No.5252010(J).