Man is different. Across time he moved from the caves and jungles and evolved towards progress, the wiser amongst him had the foresight to frame rules of behaviour for him and his future generations. This was required because he is a selfish animal motivated by greed. In nature, man is the only animal that covets and tries to acquire more than he needs. Unfortunately the rules that he frames are conveniently interpreted by him to suit his own purpose. This varied interpretation causes the balance to be upset.
How does he deal with a situation where other men have broken these rules? He creates another system/platform to address this and calls it a court of law or the legal system. It is the very cornerstone of civilization, this system of law and redressal. If we examine natures legal system versus the man made one. Nature punishes everybody who abuses its order of things. The punishment befits the crime. It is not always so in the man-made legal system and herein lies the catch. Justice is often delayed and the meted out punishment doesn’t always suit the crime. The law has to be fair but powerful and something that a wrong doer should be afraid of. The fear of law should deter or contain crime. Our legal system is weak and vacillating. Delay of justice is justice denied. This too is a crime, being perpetuated indirectly against the victims, by the very courts of law. Nature on the other hand has neither pity, nor mercy or delay in its dispensing of justice, the consequences are swift and terrible. Laws of nature because of this power are feared & respected.
On the background of recent happenings of 26/11 the question before us is what now? In the official casualty tally, 178 are dead and 360 are injured. Is there justice for them in the Indian courts ?
Is the Indian system functioning and functioning well? Let us look at three separate cases; two instances that are not related to terror and one which is.
- The Bhopal gas tragedy is the most horrific industrial accident anywhere in the world. The leakage of MIC or methyl isocyanate gas resulted in 3000 people immediately dying and lakhs suffering the after effects. This happened in 1984. This case was settled out of court for a paltry sum and is still pending as its impact on life and environment are yet under discussion more than 24 years after.
- Second is the Bombay textile mill workers strike headed by the late Dr. Datta Samant. This changed the industrial face of Mumbai irreversibly and completely. Lakhs of millworkers were out of job and most have died by now. The cases are pending yet. This is from 1982.
- The third is the red handed arrest of Mohammad Afzal aka Afzal Guru for the attack on Indian Parliament in 2001. He is sentenced to death in 2006 a good five years later and till date that sentence is not carried out. There is a legal stay on this order.
The goddess of law has the scales of justice in one hand and holds a sword in another. In the attention to the drama taken to balance the oscillating scales, over time even the goddess has forgotten her sword hand. Its time now to remind her.