Onus squarely rests on the trial court

I agree with V. Eshwar Anand’s view in his article, Triumph of Justice: Law on witness protection a pressing need (Jan 19) that media reports exposed the shoddy and scandalous nature of investigation and trial in the Jessica Lall murder case.

However, there have been judges of high integrity and character. I am reminded of one such brave judge. In 1958-59, Commander Nanavati had murdered one Ahuja. Those days there was the nine-member jury system. After briefing the jury, Judge R.B. Mehta retired to his chamber.

When the jury was ready with its verdict, the judge took his seat. The jury gave its verdict by 8-1 in favour of Nanavati, but the judge refused to let him go free. He rose and told the jury that he was making a reference to the Bombay High Court.

The High Court sentenced Nanavati which the Supreme Court upheld. I watched this case in the Supreme Court during my stint at the Naval Headquarters. True, the Maharashtra Governor pardoned Nanavati, but Judge Mehta was lauded by many sections for his unimpeachable integrity, character and impartiality.

If the trial court in the Jessica Lall case stood like a solid rock against greedy witnesses, there would have been no problem at all and the accused would have been punished long back.




There is a general impression that only those from high society can fight their cases tooth and nail to get justice and try for punishment of the guilty. Manu Sharma deserved the severest punishment for Jessica Lall’s murder.

In such cases, ordinary people do not get justice. Moreover, common people do not have the resources, time and energy to fight for a long time. Still, the common man is happy and satisfied. The media played its role in a responsible manner in the Jessica Lall case.

B.S. ARORA, Jalandhar


The year 2006 has been rightly described as Year of Justice. The Shibu Soren case, the Jessica Lall case and the Priyadarshini Matoo case were all decided last year. The culprits were awarded exemplary punishment.

This will definitely restore the confidence of the common man in the judiciary. The judgements in these cases will send a message of fear in the minds of the culprits and infuse a sense of security among the law-abiding citizens.


Cane turns bitter

The news-item “Cane turns bitter for Mulayam” was interesting. It is strange how the Rashtriya Lok Dal is playing its role in Uttar Pradesh. It supports the Mulayam government. But in the matter of cane price, its ministers under Mr Ajit Singh’s leadership withdrew their support to government.

Mr Ajit Singh has never said so far that he is withdrawing his support but the RLD ministers’ action should be seen as part of Mr Singh’s political strategy during the forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.

If reports were to bear scrutiny, Mr Ajit Singh would claim for Chief Ministership after the Assembly elections. And if there is a hung Assembly, he will have a strong bargaining power with the RLD members by his side.

Prof P.K. GUPTA, Bathinda

No pension hike

The proposal for allowing 5 per cent additional amount of pension to those pensioners who had completed 65 years and 10 per cent to these who had attained the age of 75 years is pending with the Himachal Pradesh government. Though the Chief Minister was in favour of this demand, it has been rejected, apparently, on the ground that it will cause heavy financial burden on the government.

With the advancement of one’s age, liabilities will also increase and the functions of vital organs start dwindling. The pensioners’ income remains stagnant. 75 years is almost the fag end of one’s life journey. The HP pensioners have been hoping for an increase ever since it was sanctioned to Punjab pensioners.

The HP government should reconsider at least 5 per cent hike in pension to those pensioners who have attained the age of 75 years.



Nehru’s link with Bhagat Singh

I am grateful to Prof V.N Datta for having responded to my proposal on Bhagat Singh Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), in the background of the martyr’s close association” with Nehru (Perspective Page, Jan 14). As for his observations about Nehru’s conduct at Gandhi’s behest, I have no difference with him. Nehru backtracked from his friendship and closeness of ideas from Subhash Bose as well.

Though Jinnah defended Bhagat Singh in the Central Assembly during his and other revolutionaries’ hunger strike, other leaders also defended him, particularly Subhash Bose, who held a big rally in Delhi on March 20, 1931, three days prior to his execution, to oppose death sentence to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Viceroy Lord Irwin wanted Gandhi to stop Subhash from holding this rally, but in vain.

Undoubtedly, Nehru and Bhagat Singh had deep liking for each other, particularly for socialist ideas. Bhagat Singh, in an article, had appreciated “Nehru’s ideas as more rational than those of Subhash Bose” though Subhash was emotionally more close to Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries than Nehru was.


Centre of Indian Languages
JNU, New Delhi



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