WHY THE DELAY?

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Apr 2018 12:02:49

EVEN as Bollywood hero Salman Khan goes behind the bars in the blackbuck killing case, the question arises about the inordinate delay that the judiciary took to deliver the verdict. The incident took place in 1998, and the verdict of sending Salman Khan to jail came twenty years later. That this delay is being noticed in this particular case because the involved person is a celebrity, but such delays have become an integral part of the the nation’s judicial process, giving an impression to the common man that interested and influential parties often succeed in slowing down the pace of justice. The common man, thus is beginning to lose faith in the judiciary’s overall efficacy in which early disposal of cases is one of the most important attributes.  

It is exactly this attribute that is often violated at almost every step of the judicial process, and the accused get a tremendous advantage of remaining free until the case is decided. In Salman Khan’s case, too, the same thing has happened, much to the chagrin of common man. The actor’s name was also involved in the killing of a few persons sleeping on pavement in Mumbai when he was accused to be driving a vehicle during night hours, allegedly under influence of some undesirable substance. That case also took a long time during which a lot of tampering with evidence, too, took place allegedly. Though the investigations were taking their long sweet time, the actor got a bail from the High Court almost in no time, again raising doubts in the common man’s mind whether such quickness was ever shown in other cases involving people without any influence.  

The purpose here is not to cite the two cases involving Salman Khan; the purpose is to draw attention to an unfortunate reality of the Indian judicial system in which delays have become a common experience. The purpose is also to stress that because of the delays that the common man feels disgusted about the entire process, something which is detrimental to social health. Time and again, the issue of delays in justice has come up for discussion at all levels in the country. The higher judiciary, the Government, and the social thinkers have spent a lot of time and energy in finding solutions to the problem of judicial delays. Despite all this, nothing concrete has emerged mainly because no party to the issue appears serious about finding an effective solution to the problem. 

In fact, the common man carries an impression in his head that nobody ever thinks that the problem of judicial delays is serious at all. Who is going to erase this impression? Can anybody tell the common man candidly that he carries an absolutely wrong impression in his head? No! Such a rebuttal is not possible simply because much of that impression has a strong element of truth. And it is this issue we wish to highlight at this stage. We abhor the idea that a simple poaching case should take as many as twenty full years to get a verdict. We also do not understand that why the judiciary should take such long years to deliver verdicts in the fodder scam cases involving former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. And we also do not understand why Colonel Purohit and Sadhwi Pradnya should languish in jail for such a long time when no guilt is proven prima facie against them.  

These are not simple issues. In fact, if the nation fails to sort these out on an urgent basis, a time may not be far away when the common people would feel tempted to take the law into their own hands and ensure a jungle justice. In simpler terms, that stage will be termed as anarchy. If the powers that be ignore this writing on the wall, then India will be headed for a sureshot trouble that will be difficult to be sorted out later on. It is time the Government and the judiciary took notice of this ugly possibility and initiated right steps. They must realise that they can only ill-afford not to hear the warning bells.