Well, is there not something very wrong with the legal system for this to happen? The case is not about whether Zahira Sheikh lied or did not lie, and trying to decipher when she lied and when she did not. It is not about whether Teesta Setalvad coerced her or did not, nor about whether Narendra Modi bribed her or did not, it's about justice for the dead. Somewhere, we seem to have forgotten that the state of Gujarat did not do justice to the several people who died following the burning of the Sabarmati Express. The delays are enough to make anyone buy peace. The promise of an uncertain conviction makes many think twice about going to court. The ability of those in positions of power to manipulate the system is now legendary. Whether anyone was convicted or not, the legal system was already convicted and found wanting in doing its primary function -- delivering justice.
All the factors leading to the first acquittal were predictable, yet nothing was done to prevent them from happening. It is all very well for the Supreme Court to say that the chief minister behaved like Nero and looked the other way. What did the high court do, I wonder which direction his court was facing. And petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission in the Supreme Court in 2002 asking for witness protection, reinvestigation and speedy trial, lie in cold storage to this day. Meanwhile, 2,000 cases are closed as being unworthy of further investigation. After a Supreme Court calling for a review of the closed cases, a review committee has called for a reopening of 1,594 cases! What a damning admission that the police and 1,594 magistrates did not do their jobs and unquestioningly accepted the closure reports. What we have here is not one Zahira Sheikh to think about, not one sessions court judge to give the first acquittal, not one high court judge who dismissed the appeal, but a failure of epidemic proportions.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Best Bakery---Best Justice ?
An article of Rediff with a good take on the Best Bakery case: Is Zahira a victim or accused?