|Saturday, January 15, 2000,
Enforce the law or perish
OUR criminal justice system is based on 18th century values. It is inadequate to meet the needs of 21st century.
Crime committed with the help of modern technology or by the organised groups is beyond its reach. Powerful politicians, ultra-rich citizens or bureaucrats, and police officials have always escaped from the grip of law. These classes enjoy full immunity because of inadequacy of our system. Law is meant for the average man only.
Unfortunately society has started eulogising the criminals. Phoolan Devi has been made a leader of national importance. Now in place of one there are seven Phoolan Devis operating in the region. Many tainted men have gained respectability and acceptability in society by getting elected to various State Assemblies.
|Our investigators are ignorant of modern
techniques of interrogations. Most police stations have
become torture dens. The investigation is mostly based on
enforced confession, which is retracted during trial.
Even in ordinary crime the rate of conviction is less
than 40%. To cover up its weaknesses, both politicians
and the police blame the courts for large number of
acquittals. Courts have their limitations. They
cant convict without sufficient evidence. The net
result is that society is getting that type of justice
which the system permits.
As many as 250/300 militants were arrested from the Golden Temple complex during operation Black Thunder. The whole world saw it. Only a few months thereafter almost all of them were discharged because of lack of evidence. It is a different matter that none of them may be alive today. It may be for the human right organisations to research as to what happened to them. The fact remains that the system has failed to deal with such situations.
Not a single important person who was named in various reports prepared by eminent persons, for inciting, abetting and indulging in Sikh killings in the capital of the country in 1984, has been convicted.
For the last few years many multi-crore scams like Bofors, fodder, bitumen, education, dhoti-sari, power and land etc. have come under investigation by various agencies. Not a single case has reached successful culmination. It is impossible to come across a better example of inefficiency of any system.
It is a great incentive for men in power to exploit public money and indulge in all sorts of white collar crime and corruption with almost certainty that they have full immunity from the law-enforcing agencies.
Things may be bad enough but the worst is that men in power are doing nothing about it. Rather they are making hay while the society is sleeping.
Making new laws will not help. We already have more laws than any other country in the world. Nor can we wait till all men become moralist. That stage may never come. Still we have to do some thing, otherwise the system will swallow the state and nation.
First of all we have to motivate our law-enforcing agencies and give proper training to investigators. Certain minimum standard of efficiency and fitness has to be observed amongst them. There should be special procedure to deal with the crime of corruption by individuals and violence by militants, organised groups and the police. Special judges should decide such cases within a specified schedule. All agencies which deal with justice, may it be police, prosecutor, or courts, should be made above political influence. Mr K.P.S. Gill in an article has said: It is time to review the system of justice that has failed to punish even heinous terrorism, abandoning common citizen to the savagery of the forces of disorder. He is right. State has no options. It has either to enforce the rule of law or perish.
Lack of will
The article Looking beyond the culture of survival written by Jay Dubashi brings the true character of our nation in front of us.
In every sphere of life, may it be a political battle or an issue of social upliftment, or any economic matter, our lack of will to do something positive with honesty and integrity is always holding us back.
But how can the mindset of our people change with negative attitude, corruption and dishonesty so deeply rooted in our social fabric? To expect any change to come from within is possible only if we create this awareness through a better and practical education system and inject positive thoughts into the minds of the people from the primary level.
We cannot be anything else, but what we think and experience throughout our lives. To think right and to act honestly, we should, with all our efforts and dedication, widen our educational horizons at the grassroots levels. Without that the task of strengthening the character of our nation remains formidable.
India bungled badly during the eight-day hostage crisis but the way negotiations with hijackers ended gives credence to the theory that they have at least pinned their hopes on one thing a solid ground reality: whom would the hijackers and their benefactors ultimately end up with? In either case, India stands to gain politically and strategically in the long run.
Yes, narrow short-term outlook of the whole episode portrays a picture of a hesitant soft state but how seriously they treat and pursue this incident in the national and international arena would be the final judge in determining the fate of lasting peace in the region.
India must not rest till those behind hijacking are brought to the book. In this fight of will, India blinked and conceded the demands of its enemy, but hopefully, only to fight back with a vengeance. Will of a nation and its people determine their fate, not the battles. Remember, Japan rose to prosperity literally from ashes after World War II.
Only a strong, uncompromising stand with full vigour and a proactive sustained campaign to search and destroy terrorist outfits would be able to contain and exert the much-needed pressure on the perpetrators and their interested sponsors to seek peace or annihilation.
When terrorism is confined within the borders of a nation, the responsibility to curb it falls within the realms of that nation alone. But, when terrorism crosses national borders and knows no bounds, the world has a definite role to get involved. This is because any one nation, particularly the affected nation which is the target of the terrorists, may have a very limited leverage to effectively counter international terrorism by its own efforts alone. This was clearly the case in the recent hijacking of an Indian airplane. India was forced to deal with that incident alone without much outside support.
No matter how noble a cause may be, any uncivil means to achieve it clearly qualifies it as terrorism. In this regard, every civil nation has a very important role to play wherever international terrorism occurs. Unfortunately, in todays world, the international attitude is such that any one nation has no active interest in such incidents unless that nations interests are directly affected. As an example, the USA did not have very much to protest until one of the released militants publicly proclaimed in Pakistan to destroy India and the US.
It is time for the world community to be more proactive than reactive to counter the threat of international terrorism. If the existing organisations, such as the UN are ineffective, we must create and enforce new protocols, like the CTBT, to which every nation must be a signatory. Such protocols must ensure unconditional involvement and action by every nation to counter international terrorism. Even if some nations do not like to work with each other or otherwise have no direct stakes in terrorist incidents, they should still take collective accountability. Otherwise, international terrorism will dangerously repeat again and again, holding the international humanity and peace at ransom. As the world enters a new millennium, mere words of condemnation alone are inadequate to address this problem.
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