In one James Bond film it is said: Once can be happenstance. Twice can be coincidence. Thrice or more enemy is at work. On NDTV 24×7â€™s Left Right and Centre on three days Nidhi Razdan asked the question: Is death penalty a deterrent? She implied it was not. My answer is â€œYesâ€.
First time Nidhi Razdan asked the question with regard to remarks by Justice Markandeya Katju about policemen who kill in fake encounters. He had said â€œSuch policemen should be hanged. It is nothing but cold-blooded brutal murder, and yes, police personnel responsible should be hanged.â€ The discussion turned around fake encounters. Y. P. Singh said policemen do a noble job in an unethical way. It is a political call to control crime. The government of the day asks police to finish criminals. When there were gang wars in Bombay encounters took place and criminals disappeared.
Prashant Bhushan should make public what he knows about corrupt CJIs. The law must be changed to hang corrupt CJIs. Prashant Bhushan has been in the forefront of fight against corruption and was in the committee to draft Lokpal Bill. He should not apologise. If he goes to jail it will show the abuse of the power of the court to punish the innocent. That may result in a law that will define contempt of court and take away the power of judges to act arbitrarily or scrapping the provision altogether. Many constitutions do not have the provision of contempt of court.
There is a campaign in the media that 2G accused should get bail. I see a lobbyist behind it.
Radia tapes revealed a lobbyist connected to politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and journalists. In an Anil Ambani versus Mukesh Ambani case when the judgment went in favour of Anil Ambani she asked Vir Sanghvi to write an article attacking the judge. Barkha Dutt was ready to do her bidding.
The campaign began with Jaswant Singh appearing on CNN-IBN and saying the 2G accused should get bail. TV discussions followed. Ex-CJI Vishwanath Khare and Ex-SG Harish Salve sent unsolicited legal opinions to CBI. On 6/7/2011 the Supreme Court told CBI lawyer K. K. Venugopal â€œDonâ€™t take these legal opinions into consideration. You reject them outright.â€
Veerappa Moily must be a happy man. When four ministers went to meet Baba Ramdev at airport he was not one of them. It was interpreted as he was losing favour. By 5/6/2011 the tide had turned, the pendulum had swung, Kapil Sibal was under attack.
Anna Hazare led a fast for Lokpal Bill and was successful. Baba Ramdev was unhappy about the composition of the drafting committee for Lokpal Bill which had Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal among others. He said, father is chairman, son is member and the secret of Arvind Kejriwalâ€™s seat. Shanti Bhushan replied drafting committee needs legal experts not yoga guru. Anna Hazare spoke to Baba Ramdev and Baba Ramdev muted his criticism.
The events of the last few days have shown that fight against corruption will be hard and the corrupt will do everything to scuttle the Lokpal Bill.
A nameless and faceless coward sent a CD that caused problems for Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan. The Bhushans have gone to Supreme Court. Some want Bhushans to quit the drafting committee and that seems to be the reason for sending the CD. Not many top lawyers joined Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption. Most of them have taken briefs of 2G companies and various criminals. On TV channels they may talk of probity, integrity and transparency but when it comes to briefs they have no compunction in accepting any brief from anyone whether murderer, rapist, molester, swindler, fraudster or some other high criminal.
Anna Hazare is on an indefinite fast for Jan Lokpal Bill. This bill is different from the Lokpal Bill the government has in mind. The government is not ready to meet representatives of activists to reconcile the two bills.
Lokpal Bill is a small step in fighting corruption at the top. The bill has made occasional appears over the last 42 years. Many people have come forward in support of Anna Hazare and there are indefinite fasts in various cities. In California, Indians marched supporting the fast against corruption. Candle light vigil has taken place.
Judicial corruption is the worst corruption. Judges are the ultimate hope for justice and when they are corrupt justice is denied.
Judges enjoy constitutional protection so they may do their job fearlessly. The procedure for removal of corrupt judges of Supreme Court or High Court is long and difficult. A motion has to be moved in Lok Sabha, signed by 100 members, or in Rajya Sabha, signed by 50 members. When the motion is admitted the speaker of chairman appoints a committee of three members. When the committee submits report recommending the removal of the judge the motion is put to vote and must be passed by two-thirds majority in both houses. The voting is presented to the president of India and the president removes the judge.
On 7/3/2011 the Supreme Court bench consisting Justices Markandey Katju and Gyansudha Misra dismissed Pinki Viraniâ€™s petition to end Aruna Shanbaugâ€™s life. The matter should have ended there. But the bench commended Pinki Virani for her â€œcompassionâ€ and said passive euthanasia is permissible on a case-by-case basis. Pinki Virani deserved to be condemned for trying to end a life. The decision on passive euthanasia is valid till Parliament makes a law on euthanasia. It is for the legislature to make law and judiciary should not encroach on legislatureâ€™s domain.
I have some questions.
Who authorized Pinki Virani to file a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug? Aruna Shanbaug did not authorize her. She is not a member of Aruna Shanbaugâ€™s family.
Pinki Virani is not Aruna Shanbaugâ€™s caretaker. Why does she want to become her undertaker?
What is right to live with dignity?
Why is right to die is presented as right to live with dignity?
What should be the punishment for someone who wants to kill someone through starvation?
I have my answers.
On 25/1/2011, Yashwant Sonawane, Additional District Collector of Malegaon, was burnt to death by oil mafia criminals in Panewadi, near Manmad in Nashik District. The death could have been avoided if India had death penalty for every murder and had hanged all who were sentenced to death. Every death penalty prevents three to eighteen murders as proved in an article in Newsweek some years back.
There are evil people who call themselves human rights activists and oppose death penalty. For them murderers are human beings, victims are not.