Tag: bombay high court

Supreme Court, Marriage and Murder

On 10 December 2009 a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma reduced the death sentence of Dilip Tiwari, a murderer, to 25 years of imprisonment because the victims were of “so called lower caste.”
Dilip Tiwari’s sister had married Prabhu, a member of Ezhavar caste of Kerala. Dilip Tiwari, a Brahmin, with the help of Sunil Yadav and Manoj, murdered Prabhu, Prabhu’s father Krishnan Nochil, Prabhu’s brother Bijit and a neighbour Abhyaraj at Andheri on 17 May 2004. They had hacked them to death. Prabhu’s mother India and sister Deepa were injured in the attack.
The Sessions Court had sentenced the murderers to death and Bombay High Court had confirmed it.
The judgment, inter alia, had the following sentences:
“…Caste is a concept which grips a person before his death and does not leave him even after his death. The vicious grip of the caste, community, religion, though totally unjustified, is a stark reality. The psyche of the offender in the background of a social issue like an inter-caste community marriage, though wholly unjustified, (Italics mine) would have to be considered in the peculiar circumstances.
It is common experience that when the younger sister commits something unusual and in this case it was an intercaste, intercommunity marriage out of the secret love affair, then in the society it is the elder brother who justifiably or otherwise is held responsible for not stopping such affair. It is held as the family defeat.
At times, he has to suffer taunts and snide remarks even from the persons who really have no business to poke their nose into the affairs of the family. Dilip, therefore, must have been (Italics mine) a prey of the so-called insult which his younger sister had imposed upon his family.
The murders were the outcome of a social issue like a marriage with a person of so-called lower caste. However, a time has come when we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentence in the circumstances as these.”
This judgment is dangerous and should not be allowed to set a precedent. If something is wholly unjustified it should not be considered whether the circumstances are peculiar or otherwise. Intercaste marriage is not a peculiar circumstance, more so in Bombay.
The judgment says Dilip, therefore, must have been a prey. Either he was a prey or he was not. Even if he were a prey that did not give him a right to murder. If other people poke their nose they should be told to shut up. Since the judges were sure about him being a prey this sentence should not have been part of the judgment.
The judgment goes against equality enshrined in the constitution of India when it says “when we have to consider these social issues as relevant while considering the death sentence”. This justifies discrimination on the basis of caste and less punishment for people of “upper castes” for crimes against people of “lower castes”.
The Government of India must act. A review petition must be filed against this judgement in the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Law Minister Veerappa Moily must begin the process of removal of these judges Justice V. S. Sirupurkar and Justice Deepak Verma.

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Bandhs are bad

Kerala High Court in 1997 rightly declared that bandhs are unconstitutional and the Supreme Court upheld the decision of  Kerala High Court.  Whether the decision was one paragraph or ten pages is immaterial. 

Bombay High Court fined BJP and Shiv Sena Rs.20 lakhs each for calling a bandh.  After that they did not call for a bandh though there was one unofficial bandh by Shiv Sena in July 2006. 

No democracy has any duty to encourage protest in all its forms.  Protest is allowed subject to reasonable restrictions.  Bandhs violate fundamental, constitutional and natural rights.  Anything that goes against the rights of people can be forbidden by the Supreme Court. There is no need for a law.  Right cases give rise to right laws leading to rule of law.   

Bandhs are different from strikes.  In a strike people stop working.  In a bandh other people are prevented from working, travelling, keeping schools, colleges, shops, theatres etc open.  Bandhs are successful only if there is violence or fear of violence.  Bandhs cannot be tolerated in a democracy.  Where bands disrupt normal life it is mobocracy.    

People have lost their lives due to bandhs.  One person had appendicitis.  He could not go to a doctor as he could not get a taxi due to bandh and died.  Jackie Shroff lost his mother due to a bandh.  Shiv Sena had called the bandh.  Due to that Jackie Shroff could not take his mother to doctor immediately.  He knew Raj Thackeray who at that time was in Shiv Sena.  This helped Jackie Shroff to take his mother to doctor but she died.  There are many cases like that which go unreported. 

People who have to travel long distance book their tickets in advance.  They have to travel on a particular day. When there is bandh their inconvenience is great.  They are unable to reach bus stations, railway stations and airports.  It is difficult to get tickets for the next day.  Some miss important events in the family. 

DMK’s calling for bandh was wrong for two reasons.  First, bandhs are wrong.  Second, DMK rules Tamil Nadu and part of UPA which rules Centre.  Its duty was to maintain law and order.  Bandhs are against law and order.  Against whom was DMK’s protest?  If it is not happy with UPA it should quit UPA.  The chief minister should be in his office and should not abdicate his responsibility by sitting on hunger strike. 

If there is constitutional breakdown the Supreme Court has a duty to say so.  It cannot be a mute spectator. 

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