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Deal with terrorists, but stick to rules

SOME JUDGES of the Supreme Court on Saturday felt the need for adopting the rule of law even while dealing with terrorists. ?My endeavour here is to emphasise the need for measured and well thought-out responses even in the face of destruction and violence,? stated Justice Ruma Pal, while delivering the sixth Justice JK Mathur lecture on ?Terrorism and Human Rights? at the Scientific Convention Centre of the King George?s Medical University, here.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2006 01:12 IST

SOME JUDGES of the Supreme Court on Saturday felt the need for adopting the rule of law even while dealing with terrorists.

“My endeavour here is to emphasise the need for measured and well thought-out responses even in the face of destruction and violence,” stated Justice Ruma Pal, while delivering the sixth Justice JK Mathur lecture on ‘Terrorism and Human Rights’ at the Scientific Convention Centre of the King George’s Medical University, here.

She called for adhering to deep-rooted rights enacted in the Constitution for finding solutions to the problem of terrorism that has gained foothold in different forms, including Naxalism and separatism in different parts of the country.

Justice Pal sounded a warning against hasty moves while dealing with the menace. “With hastily drafted legislations and ambiguously worded provisions, there is an apparent danger of them being counter-productive to the fight against terrorism,” she said.

Justice Pal further stated that the fight against terrorism was not merely to preserve the integrity and subjects of our nation. “It is an endeavour to protect our democratic traditions, including the rule of law, the values that we have chosen for ourselves which have survived even in the face of repression and conquests, the fundamental rights guaranteed to us and the liberties that were realised after years of struggle.”

“Our resolve to adhere to these values and liberties will be tested in the crucible of terrorism,” she said and added that it was after all “the test of fire that makes fine steel”.

Quoting the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Justice Pal said, “We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights, and unless all these causes are advanced, none will succeed.”

Replying to a query from Justice S B Sinha of the Supreme Court why she had agreed to speak on terrorism, Justice Pal said there were three reasons to it, including the abduction and subsequent killing of her nephew Sanjay Ghosh by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in 1997 and the lackadaisical response of the countrymen to the Kashmir quake.

Justice S B Sinha, speaking on the same issue, asked whether it was possible for us to have a benchmark to deal with the menace, to provide a renewed benchmark for investigation, and the way society should react to the problem of terrorism in all forms. Former Supreme Court Judge Brijesh Kumar termed terrorism as a bane for and curse on the human race.

Senior Judge of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court Jagdish Bhalla welcomed the guests.

First Published: Jan 15, 2006 01:12 IST