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?
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.


Diana said...

I think the entire case has more or less evolved around Zahira. The people related and the entire administration seems to forget all the others who had died or have lost some one near and dear.

Purushottam said...

In some sense this case and the Jessical Lal murder case are testing our judicial system---the session courts (in both cases) and the high courts acquitted the accused and the Supreme Court stepped in and I hope justice prevails with a retrail even in the JL case. Also, both cases had witnesses turning hostile and severely effecting the course of the case. The SC's decision to charge Zahira with the offence of interfering with the course of justice and asking her to stand trial, will hopefully be a positive step towards accounting for witness hostility.

Vinayak said...

Zahira Sheik (Best bakery case) lied, is being convicted and fined.

What happnes when others defamed Swami Ramdev's on his medicines ?

What about the press briefings of Brinda and company that made Hindus and Swami Ramdev look silly ? Isn't that defamation ? When the govt found medicines clean, how did the earlier samples have animal matter ?

What about the attack on Ayurveda, a 2000 year old knowledge ? What about the reputation of Hindus ? sants or common men ? are Hindus destined to die in bomb blasts, defamations and lies ?

What applies to Zahira Sheikh should apply to Brinda Karat and company or anyone who is proven to have lied ? or no ?

Is Zahira prosecuted just because she is a Muslim Woman ?

more at


Purushottam said...

thanks for writing Vinayak.
In my opinion Zahira Sheik and Brinda Karat cannot be compared on the terms of perjury. Zahira turned hostile more than once in court and is sentenced for 1 yr imprisonment on the charge of trying to obstruct justice. While Brinda Karat, sent samples for testing and found animal/human content and raised the issue. Now the Uttaranchal has conducted its own tests and has given him a clean chit based on the samples they collected. So solely based on the evidence and the tests conducted, Baba Ramdev remains vindicated. Am not clear why that amounts to defamation? Infact, his coming clean may help him.
If Brinda Karat is charged, would every PIL that looses sentence the person who filed the charges?