One primary premise of jurisprudence is that just not only should justice be done, it should be ‘seen’ to have been done. Unfortunately, often what passes of as legal justice is a travesty – this is true as much of India that comes burdened with a billion strong population and a colonial baggage, as of USA where the kangaroo court at Gitmo Bay gives ammunition for all lovers of liberty. And this travesty of justice comes to focus all the more in the recent acquittal of the murderers of model Jessica Lal.
In late February a judge acquitted all the accused in the murder case, castigating the shoddy investigation in the process. The Delhi Police took umbrage, and inspired by the massive public outrage, posted an appeal for retrial to the Delhi High Court, detailing 92 counts of how the previous charade of justice obfuscated on many of the prosecution’s evidences and arguments. Not to say that the Delhi Police did any good job. Their attempt at investigation is a comedy of errors with tragic undertones for the victims of the acquittal. Honestly, not much was expected from an investigation agency that comes circumscribed with a thousand pressures – and given that the accused murderer was the son of a Congress minister in Harayana, it could be expected from the beginning that justice would be denied, or hampered with. Unfortunately again, this is not the first time that such high profile murderers have got scott free. The recent BMW murderer (please consult the details by searching on Google), the Salman Khan incident wherein he bashed his SUV into sleeping people killing one on the spot in a drunken stupor, etc are just the tip of the iceberg. Of the numerous occasions where not so famous people, but powerful nontheless, have worked their zeal in putting justice off-track, the less said the better. It is true perhaps that the lady of justice is blind – it is true she cannot see injustice. Yes, it is an apt symbolism perhaps. Justice has always been the preserve of the rich and the powerful, in any case…
The good news is that the latest event has roused a public conscience that was in slumber. Perhaps something good will come out. Perhaps the high and the mighty in this democratic country have not forgotten an old motto:
vox populi vox dei (The voice of the people is the voice of God).