Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No True Freedom Of Speech

Sedition, under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code states that any act which might lead to the insurrection of the current system. However, it does not include helping enemies, but rather to stir up a rebellion to change the system. Currently the charges against Binayak Sen, a rights activist are the same. Binayak Sen is serving life term imprisonment since 2007, under the High Court of Chattisgarh’s judgment. The case is pending before the Supreme Court, which will be heard in March 11.

Now the question arises of what should be held as sedition, and what cases may be excused. Over the last few years, various awards have been given to this person, and moreover, he is an activist who has devoted his life to help the people in rural areas rather than earning big bucks in the city. Under these circumstances, where people all over the world are supporting him, excuses have to be made.

Sedition is one of the grave offences, and there is hardly any mercy, but it also clashes with freedom of speech. If a person does not have that much right to express his views in public on some topic, then what is the role of freedom of speech or is it just to show that we have it as a Fundamental Right?

There should be a separate sedition act which would give clear rules, and the exceptions to it. Especially in a case like Binayak Sen, an excuse needs to be given. In such cases, rather than giving imprisonment, they may be deported to other parts of the country, or in a different country, and monitored. However, imprisonment is not the right method in cases where the person is a leader of the people, and he has not said anything drastically against the government giving rise to revolt around the country.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Perspective on Euthanasia

The Supreme Court has handed out the judgment for a passive euthanasia to take place. It is truly a remarkable judgment which is to work until there is a proper legislation. Aruna Shaubag has been suffering for the last 37 years in a hospital in Mumbai and there is no hope for recovery. The Supreme Court has given the order that active euthanasia should not be given, but a passive one, which takes more time and does not use venoms to do the work. The Court has also laid down strict guidelines for the High Court to follow in any cast that may arise for euthanasia.

Euthanasia has always been a topic where everyone is divided. Some think it is killing a person, while others believe it to be relieving. However, the legislation has been entirely silent about the whole issue. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which gives right to life has been defined in so many ways that it covers any topic which may arise relating to life. Yet, the woeful thing about it is that it does not give this right to the people. Only the Courts have the power to interpret it. This raises the question of the other Fundamental Right of Freedom. What freedom do we have if we do not define the right to life by our self?

A separate Commission should be set out for this purpose for which a particular time limit should be set in which the decision needs to be given. There should be no appeal from this commission, and nor there should be any lawyers in it. It should be made of common men, elected for the purpose from around the country differently each time. This would ensure that the right is given to us, and is defined on humanitarian terms. The Courts are not apt to decide the cases for mercy killing, and so it should be left to the person who wants it, and other people to decide for the purpose.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Stain on Justice

The trial court verdict on Ajmal Kasab came out ten months earlier which gave a judgments for swinging him by the neck to death. However, an appeal was given to the High Court whose judgment was required to uphold his capital punishment. On the 21st of February, The High Court of Bombay also gave the same judgment, with leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, this inordinate delay in decision making looks like a farcical situation to the entire world. Why provide an enemy so much time on a trial whose decision can be guessed before the trial started. Is that not stretching the justice system to an extreme where people lose all hopes on justice? If Kasab is not hung within a year of the terrible incidents of 26/11, then what is the situation for other criminals who have not even waged war on our nation?

Two years have gone by since the incident, and yet the people who have felt the pain of losing their loved ones has not dimmed because of the continuous focus on Kasab’s trial, which only stops the wounds from healing. It is simply impossible to find out a reason why fast track courts have not been set up for this trial, the biggest criminal trial of these days. If a trial as important as this is not handed to the fast track courts, then what does qualify? Where the whole world was witness to the brutal way in which the terrorists were mowing down people with their guns, what is the need for evidence, proof, and confession of a person to hand out a judgment?

India has a very strict hand on matters which are against public policy. Even though this particular incident is not directly related to public policy, yet it may be linked very easily to public sentiments. To continue awarding life to a terrorist at the cost of people’s money, is preposterous, and is amazing to see that the courts have not handed it over to Fast Track Courts to deal with the matter as it appeals to the public sentiment. It seems that our country is only interested in showing that our justice system is very liberal, rather than providing justice.