This is in response to your editorial, ‘Make legal justice system strong’ (7 December, 2019). Lynchings and fake encounters are the signatures of ‘might is right’ machismo. They are the symptoms of people’s lack of faith in the rule of law, democracy, the constitution, and the spirit of justice.
The people who support this believe in violence and macho jungle rule where justice has been earmarked only for the mighty. Ironically, these people do not hesitate to vote in favour of a rape accused. Indeed, many rape accused candidates get elected as MPs and MLAs.
The supporters of lynching and fake encounters never ever demand ‘encounter justice’ for rape accused political leaders or celebrities or creamy men who they even do not hesitate to garland for their prowess. As a matter of fact, they are not at all interested in women’s rights and gender justice.
Senior Supreme Court advocate, Vrinda Grover, received rape threats because she condemned the alleged encounter killing of the four suspects in the rape and murder case in Hyderabad. It helps us see the real cat that was hidden in the bag where the demand for mob trial in favour of rape victims has been written over it in bold letters. This reminds us that mob rule always wants to use not only lynching but also rape and gang-rape as weapons for delivering quick justice. Had they been really sensitive to women’s rights, they could not have issued rape threats against her. Our civilization will get back to macho jungle where there is no place for women’s rights if we settle for kangaroo courts.
There is no doubt that we need more fast-track courts and a quick justice delivery system. Like police stations and hospitals, a 24×7 judiciary is essential as it is also an emergency service. All the pending cases must be settled within a stipulated time. All the vacant posts in the judiciary must be filled immediately. There must be a big cooling period after the retirement of a judge. Indeed, there is so much to be done for judicial reform without delay. Yet, in no way can we give lynch mobs a chance to hijack the judiciary.
In this context, we need to pay heed to what Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, recently said: “I believe justice loses its character of justice if it becomes revenge. As an institution, we must remain committed to making justice accessible to people through strengthening the existing avenues and evolving newer means to achieve affordable, quick and satisfactory settlement of disputes.”
Yes, affordable, quick and satisfactory settlement of disputes is indeed a crying need. And for this, we need the system of direct cross-examination by the judge and doing away with the highly expensive procedures of engaging lawyers, which takes justice far away from making it affordable.