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We, the people

Indians are increasingly showing solidarity for the sake of getting justice for all, writes Sonal Srivastava.
None | By Sonal Srivastava, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUL 25, 2006 03:16 PM IST

The Sunday crowd at Jantar Mantar must have been shocked to know that the brouhaha in their midst was all about getting a file moved -- for justice for a victim long dead -- 10 years, to be precise.

She was Priyadarshini Mattoo -- a law student raped and murdered. Her family is still struggling to get the accused nailed, just as those of Jessica Lall and Nitish Katara.
If this is what it takes to move a file, what will it take to get the justice? Which brings us to the question -- can our judicial system really bring the murderers to book?

System’s fault?

Blaming the system is easy. But one also has to consider that most of our laws were made much before the Republic of India was born. The Indian Penal Code and the Evidence Act date back to 1862 and 1872 respectively.

Delivering justice in the 21st century on the basis of these laws does sound a little disconcerting. So, does the system need tweaking? Said Usha Bakshi, a garment exporter who had come to Jantar Mantar to express solidarity, “It’s sad to see that even after ten years, we are standing here and crying for justice.

And it’s not just about Priyadarshini, it could be any body’s daughter.” Agreed Wing Commander (retd) KK Saini, “The system is corrupt and the judiciary is sleeping and a moneyed criminal can easily get away.”

Inhuman act

However, those dealing with the law courts have a different take on it. Senior advocate Sushil Kumar says, “There is no fault in the system, the only thing is that it is used by human beings and that is the reason for delay.”

Further, he asks, “The high profile cases are highlighted but what about others which are not heard?” That’s right but if it really takes a mêlée to get a file moving, Indians are showing that they can do it as often the system would want them to. And the candle-light vigil in Rang De Basanti was a reflection of a society waking up.

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