Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Corruption

Death penalty in all cases of murder

Judgments in cases of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Pratibha have raised questions about what is a rarest of rare case. Supreme Court in 1980 restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases. It usurped the function of legislature.

The government must act and bring a law that makes death penalty mandatory in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping and other such high crimes.

In Priyadarshini’s cases the criminal had committed house breaking, rape and murder. High Court had awarded death penalty. Supreme Court reduced it life imprisonment. As Adiya Nath Kaul said on CNN-IBN on 8/10/2010 life sentence in India is a joke. He gave the example of Manu Sharma.

In Pratibha’s case fast track court took five years. It awarded life sentence for rape and murder. Pratibha’s mother and family members wanted death penalty to the murderer.

There is no good reason not to have death penalty for murder. One bogus argument is life sentence is worse than death sentence. Criminals value their lives. When someone is hanged for murders that has a deterrent effect. Those who undergo life sentence can come out on parole. If they disappear it is difficult to find them. In Bombay 14,870 accused have jumped bail and 717 criminals have jumped parole.

Someone asked whether hanging Dhananjay Chatterjee stopped rapes and murders? If more rapists and murderers had been hanged there would have been less rapes and murders. Pratibha could have been alive. One swallow does not make a summer. After Dhananjay Chatterjee no one sentenced to death was hanged. Crimes are few in Saudi Arabia. In USA there were many kidnappings and abductions which came down after death penalty became punishment for kidnappings and abductions.

Commonwealth Games falling apart

Commonwealth Games are falling apart.

Commonwealth Games Village are filthy. Electrical appliances are unsafe. Doors do not close. Bathrooms fixtures do not work. Stray dogs and faeces are everywhere. Canada, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Wales delegates have told their athletes will not stay in the Village. They want hotel accommodation. Foot over bridge at Jawaharlal Nehru has collapsed and 23 labourers injured.

The mayor of the Village blamed MCD for the dogs. It was mayor’s responsibility to see that the Village was safe and secure.

Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister and in-charge of the Games, said the bridge collapse is a minor incident. For him lives of labourers do not matter. The bridge was not for athletes or officials. Delhi’s PWD minister said the bridge is not necessary and it does not matter if the bridge is not ready for the Games. People can use the road.

Mohinder Singh Gill and others had compared the Games to big fat Indian wedding. Everything will fall in place at the end. That was a wrong analogy. At weddings groom and bride can keep the people waiting. That is not the case for the Games.

Suresh Kalmadi did not address the media. Lalit Bhanot said hygiene standards of some countries are different from hygiene standards of India. That statement was disgusting.

Some days back reporters had a tour of the Commonwealth Games Village Kitchen and they found it state of the art. They were not shown the living rooms. There was no investigative journalism by TV channels to find out the truth about the Village being ready.

Security is an issue. Shooting outside Gate No. 3 of Jama Masjid on 19/9/2010 was cited as a reason by an Australian athlete for pulling out of Commonwealth Games.

When the first report of corruption in Commonwealth Games was out some said the amount was just one crore rupees or at the most two crore rupees. Now it is known that the magnitude of corruption is thousands of crores of rupees. Those who spoke of ignoring corruption are silent.

There is no time for cover-ups. Whatever is wrong will be known soon and no excuse will do.

Corrupt Chief Justices of India

Shanti Bhushan, for law minister of India, has said eight of the 16 former Chief Justices of India were corrupt, six were honest and about two he is not sure. It means 50% of CJIs were corrupt. It means 50% of Supreme Court judges and High Court judges are corrupt. When S. P. Bharucha was CJI he had said 20% of the judiciary is corrupt. By Shanti Bhushan’s reckoning 50% of the judiciary is corrupt. It means 50% of judgments were wrong.

Shanti Bhushan must make public the names of CJIs who were corrupt. He must also reveal whatever he knows about their misdeeds. That will be a great service to the nation and help in cleaning the augean stables of corruption.

Some years ago chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission was under investigation for corruption. He, as per reports, took 75 lakh rupees each for appointment as DSP or judge. If someone pays 75 lakh rupees to become a judge what fairness can be expected of that judge?

Judges have used contempt of court provision to silence people from mentioning corruption in judiciary by holding that truth is not a defence in case of contempt of court. There was one magistrate who issued four arrest warrants for Rs.10,000/- each. The four to be arrested included the then President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and the then CJI Vishwanath N. Khare.

Removal of High Court and Supreme Court judges is a long process. It needs to be simplified. Removal of High Court judges should be by Legislative Assembly of the state. Removal of Supreme Court judges should be soon after sufficient number of MPs sign the petition.

It is not enough to remove corrupt judges. Suitable punishment should follow depending on the magnitude of corruption. Indian Penal Code needs to be amended for punishment according to magnitude of crime and consecutive sentences instead of concurrent sentences.

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