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Lacunas in legal system delay execution

In Nirbhaya case, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of the culprits in May 2017. Why so much delay in its execution?
It is an irony that the culprits of the most barbaric, brutal and diabolic gangrape and murder which shook the collective conscience of the country, are evading the noose by exploiting the loopholes in our judicial system. Simply put, they are messing with our judicial system. This is a big challenge to our political and judicial system on how best to close these loopholes in the days to come.
There is an old saying that justice delayed is justice denied.
Some seven years back, a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy was gangraped on the night of December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in the country’s capital Delhi. All the six vile creatures raped her and brutalised her body with an iron rod! Her male companion was badly beaten up and the convicts then threw them both along the roadside and escaped. Later, the girl had died. The country rose in anger and protest. The victim was named Nirbhaya. The crowds of protesters hit the streets and demanded death for the culprits. Unfortunately, these vile creatures are still alive. The court had announced a date that the four surviving culprits would be hanged on January 22, but their lawyers again found a legal loophole and got the execution postponed. The new date has now been declared.
It is February 1, 2020, but the country is not sure that on that day these culprits will go to the gallows. Reason is an apprehended loophole being exploited by their lawyers to buy more time!
The following day after that horrible night of unimaginable torture, the police caught the bus driver Ram Singh. Soon his brother Mukesh Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, fruit seller Pawan Gupta, bus helper Akshay Kumar Singh and a 17-year-old minor were also arrested. Ram Singh died under suspicious circumstances in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013. On August 31 of the same year, the Juvenile Justice Board convicted the minor accused and sent him to a child remand home for 3 years. Now he is roaming free.
The country has still not been able to forget the fact that even though he was younger of the lot, his brutality was more than that of a dreaded criminal. Everyone in this country is of the opinion that he should be hanged too!
Earlier, the trial court had sentenced the four accused to death on September 13, 2013. After nearly six months, on March 13, 2014, the Delhi High Court upheld the death sentence. After that the matter went to the Supreme Court and was stuck there for more than three years. In May 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence awarded by the High Court and the trial court. In July 2018, the Supreme Court also dismissed the review petition of the three convicts.
After this only one culprit filed a mercy petition. It was sent to the President on December 6 last year and recommended to be rejected. The mercy petition of only one culprit meant that the other guilty could waste more time for such a plea. Finally, on January 7, 2020, the death warrant of the four convicts was issued after Nirbhaya’s mother filed a petition. The date of January 22 was set for execution. After this, the curative petition was filed. That too has been dismissed and a new date of February 1 has been given but the question what is the guarantee that such hurdles will not be created by the convicts before the date of execution? The apprehension is justified!
Hearing the petition filed against the first death warrant, the High Court has also made stern observations. The court has said the accused of Nirbhaya are cleverly misusing the rules and the system has become cancerous. People will lose faith in the system! Nirbhaya’s mother’s comment is also worth noting that the system is blind and helping the culprits. It is pertinent to ask as to why the Parliament does not pass any legislation to prevent such criminals from taking advantage of this kind. Why do our MPs not raise their voice on this serious issue instead of creating ruckus on unnecessary issues. After all, our judicial system has to work according to the laws that the Parliament passes. The MPs and Parliament should take such steps immediately to end the confusion.
In this context, I would like to point out that there are some 3.5 crore cases pending in the courts.
However, after so much uproar, the people sitting in the government and the agencies that make the law should better think together and find out how to end the legal lacunas. How the judicial process could gain momentum! According to the report of the national court management, the number of cases has increased at double the speed in the last 30 years. If the situation remains the same, the number of pending cases will reach 15 crore in the next 30 years. The figure is frightening and everyone should seriously think how the country can get speedy and smooth justice!
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This article was published in Lokmat Times, Lokmat Samachar and Lokmat Marathi daily across the state of Maharashtra. Here are the epaper cuttings:

Will Pak be able to get out of the mess?

A terrible crisis is brewing for Imran as the country is in a severe economic mess combined with worsening political condition
If your neighbour is in trouble, can you live in peace? This question is also haunting our country. Pakistan, our immediate neighbour and part of us before independence, is going through a time of severe crisis. It has reached the dark tunnel not only financially but socially as well. Now the big question is: Will Pakistan ever be able to get out of this mess? The question is also whether Imran Khan will continue to be in the Prime Minister’s seat or become the victim of public wrath.
When Imran Khan entered politics, he challenged the dominant power structure and his stand was one that inspired confidence in the masses. The Pakistani people saw their much-awaited messiah in him and elevated him to the peak of power. Pakistani army also expressed confidence in Imran. Imran became Prime Minister and began his innings with much optimism but gradually everything started to crumble. Inflation started rising rapidly and the Opposition slowly started to unite again. Now protests are going on against Imran in almost the entire country. It is likely that the army may also dump him. Then this question will arise again: Who will take Pakistan out of the current mess?
When Imran Khan assumed reins of power, he had to grapple with the abysmal balance of payments situation and deteriorating economic condition.
The Pakistani rupee had depreciated badly. To maintain balance of payments, new loans had to be taken. The country has already sunk badly in China’s debt-trap. Now the situation is such that it is not able to even get loan. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, in 2019 and 2020, Pakistan’s GDP growth rate will be less than three per cent. It is obvious that when the economy stumbles, inflation starts rising by leaps and bounds. Leave aside the matter of petrol and diesel, prices of common vegetables are also skyrocketing. The jobs are on decline. Of the total population of 22 crore, about 4 crore people are unemployed in Pakistan.
Experts believe that the outcome of this rising unemployment is that the youths of the country are increasingly coming under the influence of terrorist organisations.
Religious fanaticism on one hand and the greed to make some money on the other is turning these youths into terrorists. These terrorists are not only targeting India, but also causing trouble for Pakistan itself. The Pakistani army itself admits that Pakistan’s economy has lost about Rs 300 crore due to terrorism. More than 81,000 people including security forces have been killed. The Pakistan army’s statistics itself state that it has killed about 17,500 terrorists within the country so far, but the reality is that many times more than those killed are still present in Pakistan.
There is no doubt that Imran Khan did try to keep terrorists under control, but the fact is that it is not just within his power. Terrorism cannot cease until the Pakistani army wants it. Protesting against India and nurturing terrorism is the most preferred job of the Pakistan army. It also succeeds in misleading the people there in the name of war against India.
History is witness that Pakistani army did not allow any political initiative of friendship with India to succeed. Imran Khan also fell victim to this machination.
Therefore, the biggest question that Imran Khan is now faced with is, how can he save himself and the country? Opposition parties have launched a ‘freedom movement’ under the leadership of Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F). Rallies have been organised all over the country and the army’s interference is also being opposed. This fierce protest has also worried the army. In such a situation, the apprehension is being expressed whether the army will make Imran Khan a victim in order to pacify the public ire?
Imran Khan has extended the term of army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. But will this gamble pay off?
Be that as it may, it is very important for India to keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds. India is directly affected by whatever happens in Pakistan. It is very important for India that the situation in Pakistan returns to normalcy. As long as the military dominates there, India cannot expect better relations. Pakistan being in the dark tunnel is not in anyone’s interests but the question is whether it will be able to get out of this mess?
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This article was published in Lokmat Times, Lokmat Samachar and Lokmat Marathi daily across the state of Maharashtra. Here are the epaper cuttings:

Australia’s fire: A warning for the world

Four months of raging fire exterminated more than 50 crore wild animals, many among them of extremely rare species
How apocalyptically intense the fire in Australia’s states of New South Wales and Victoria is can be gauged from the fact that within four months, 63 lakh hectares of forest and national parks have been destroyed. Never before has such a devastation enveloping such a massive area with flames and smoke occurred. Earlier this year, there was a fire in the Amazon forests and about 9 lakh hectares of forest in New South Wales was reduced to ashes before it was controlled. Considering the sheer scale of devastation of Australian bush fires, it is difficult to control it. The area of 260 km around these forests has been evacuated as the fire is continuously spreading with the gusts of wind. Even as the firefighters seem to douse the fire in one area, suddenly it erupts in another.
Sydney University’s initial estimate is that the fire destroyed more than 50 crore wild animals living in forests and national parks. The worst effect of the fire has been on the koala. Most koalas live in the mid-northern region of New South Wales.
The koala, of the species Phascolarctidae, is the last rare creature. It is difficult to say whether this species has been completely destroyed in this fire or some have survived. It is also difficult for them to survive because they move very slowly. There were a lot of them in the forests of Australia, but most koalas were killed in South Australia in the 20th century. Later, when it felt that the koalas were dying, the campaign to preserve them started. Australia had given this species of koala to some other countries of the world; only those may be left now!
A large number of kangaroos have also perished in these forests. Those which were lucky enough ran towards the cities to survive.
But even after reaching many cities, they were so badly burnt that it was difficult to save them. People living around the forests have also fallen victim to this towering inferno. Thousands have fled to the shores to escape the fire but dozens of people have also died. Thousands of houses have been destroyed. People in Australia are also troubled by the encircling smoke. The sky is filled with smoke for hundreds of kilometres. Even air pollution has spread rapidly in the capital Canberra. The impact of the fire has reached neighbouring New Zealand. The scenario has become scary with orange coloured smoke enveloping the sky. This smoke has covered most of the southern island, and glaciers that look completely white otherwise are looking brown now.
Therefore, the question that should naturally arise in the mind is how the fire started and how it became so catastrophic?
In fact, the fire can sometimes be caused by human actions and many times natural incidents are also responsible for it. If the lightning falls on the dry bushes, a fire is ignited. Since the fire breaks out somewhere inside the forest, it is not initially noticed. The wind spreads this fire to other areas as well. Now it so happens that if the fire spreads more, the smoke produced from it starts gathering in the clouds. This creates conditions for celestial lightning. This lightning then sets some other part on fire. Just last week, 130 places were on fire in one area. In such a situation, it becomes difficult for the firemen to reach the fire. Such an unprecedented situation has developed in Australia.
Now because the weather is hot, it has provided a favourable condition for the fire to spread far and wide. Anyway, the average temperature in Australia has increased by one degree Celsius in the last hundred years.
The temperature in the last week of December was around 40 degree Celsius. As it is, the fire in the forests makes the surrounding air so hot that it fuels the fire further. If the fire erupts in some areas, aerial spraying of water can be effective. But when the fire turns into a towering inferno, it makes the water vaporize before it reaches the fire. Four months after the fire broke out in September, it could not be controlled even till January. How much area do you think has been destroyed by fire? It is reported that the uncontrolled fire must have burned the size of landmass of South England. By the way, we also need to understand that this horrific fire is not only an issue confined to Australia alone. This is an alarm bell for the entire world. The way we are destroying the Earth, the temperature is constantly rising. This is a dangerous sign. Today, this calamity has visited Australia, tomorrow it may visit other countries also.
It is important to understand the warning of nature, otherwise extinction of mankind is inevitable!
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This article was published in Lokmat Times, Lokmat Samachar and Lokmat Marathi daily across the state of Maharashtra. Here are the epaper cuttings:

Middle East turbulence bodes ill for the world

The killing of Qasem Soleimani by American forces tantamounts to a spark in gunpowder. If fire breaks out, it will spread far and wide
If viewed from the American point of view, it has eliminated a person who was believed to be responsible for the death of about 500 US soldiers. From the point of view of Iran, it has lost one brave General whose name spread terror. And from global angle, this can prove to be a tinderbox for world peace. Iran cannot digest this incident so easily. It has avowed revenge!
Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, an important part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and was the most powerful person after Khamenei. That is why after his death Iran declared three days of mourning and conferred on him the status of immortal martyr. Iran has now warned the US that it would have to face the dire consequences of its action. In fact, Soleimani was the person who took very important initiative to expand Iran’s dominance in the world. He had great influence in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. He unified and trained Kurdish fighters and Shia militias to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He also played a major role in saving the Bashar al-Assad government of Syria. Soleimani also strengthened forces like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Soleimani had played an important role in getting Iran to turn defiant against the US. He was considered a participant in every strategy to endanger America. Soleimani was also the brain behind the rocket attack on US military bases in Iraq. This was the reason that America became his enemy and was constantly trying to remove him from its path. The US declared Soleimani-led Quds Force as a terrorist organisation on October 25, 2007. In the following years, the United States imposed a lot of sanctions on Iran, but it is believed that Soleimani left no stone unturned to neutralise these sanctions. This further annoyed America. There was also pressure on the US from Saudi Arabia and Israel to somehow remove Soleimani from the path. How much Soleimani’s death means to America can be gauged from the fact that Donald Trump tweeted the US flag after the news of his death was flashed!
Now the moot question is what will happen next? Iran is determined to take revenge. It will definitely attack American, Saudi and Israeli establishments. About 5,000 American soldiers are still stationed in Iraq and Iran can target them. The US has an idea of this, so it has protected its military bases more than before. If Iran intensifies the attack, America can increase its strength there. Moreover, it can also conduct airstrikes to deal with the attacks. In such a situation, Iran will openly go to war because it is confident that Russia will support it in such an eventuality. Russia has described Soleimani’s death as murder and expressed condolences with Iran. China is also seen with Iran but it may not come out openly like Russia!
If a war-like situation develops, it will have a direct impact on oil prices. It has already been estimated. With the death of Soleimani, the global market saw a four per cent jump in oil prices. If Iran attacks some oil tankers passing through its territory, the oil market is sure to catch fire. In such a situation, the whole world will be affected. India, in particular, will be adversely affected. If the oil prices wreak havoc on the doddering Indian economy, the pace of our development is likely to lose steam. The condition of the countries around us will be no different. Other countries of the world will also be affected. Therefore, it is very important that peace is established in the Middle East countries, but its prospects are not very bright.
The Middle East is perhaps such a cursed part of the world where there is plenty of oil wealth but its destiny is linked with bloodshed. Now all the countries of the world should think together on how to establish peace in this region.
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This article was published in Lokmat Times, Lokmat Samachar and Lokmat Marathi daily across the state of Maharashtra. Here are the epaper cuttings:

Clear air of suspicion to prevent unrest

Everyone has the right to protest in a democracy, but violence and use of force are not justified
Unless the country is taken into confidence and an atmosphere of trust is built, even the most well intentioned move would evoke resistance. The atmosphere has become so vitiated as if the country is in a state of crisis. The government enacted Citizenship Act, triggering an atmosphere of suspicion. Before the matter could be controlled, violence spread across the country. Many parts of the country are on fire. It is difficult to say how far and wide the fire will spread. Many have lost their lives in a clash between police and protesters.
Before discussing this subject, I want to make one thing clear that I seek solution to every problem through the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. Thus I am opposed to all forms of violence.
Our democracy certainly allows us to speak, protest and demonstrate in a peaceful manner. Nobody should have any objection to this, but there should be no place for violence. Therefore, in my view, all those who are burning buses, throwing stones and damaging public properties are culprits. In my view, it is also a crime that the police enter university campus without permission and lathi-charge the students and lob tear gas shells. A student lost his eye.
The question is, why did the police, instigated outside, target the students inside Jamia Millia Islamia? Why did the police enter the library?
We have the example of Mumbai where the police showed great self-restraint during the protest. Thousands turned up for the morcha but there was not a single untoward incident! Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve and Joint Commissioner of Police Vinay Choubey should be praised for keeping law and order under control.
But the biggest question is why did the fire of protest break out? I feel that even among educated people, the number of such people will be very less; who know what is this Citizenship Act or what is the issue of NRC. So when people do not know properly, then the crowd will accept as the truth what may be just a rumour or hearsay. Therefore, if a cloud of suspicion over the CAA has arisen, it is the responsibility of the government to dispel it.
When the Citizenship Act was being passed, the government should have anticipated the adverse reaction across the country. Preparations should have been made for this in advance.
Just as the government had made restrictive arrangements in Jammu and Kashmir before removing the provisions of Article 370. The government should have prepared the whole country for the introduction of the citizenship bill and explained in detail what it stood for. The Opposition should have been taken along. Media, social media and youth should have been taken into confidence. I feel that this step can still be taken. I am happy that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically said on Sunday that there is no need for the Muslims in India to worry and that there was no discussion at all on NRC after 2014.
Merely accusing the Opposition of inciting people is not enough. There is always involvement of political parties in protests and movements. Sometimes BJP, sometimes Congress, sometimes Left parties and sometimes regional parties are involved. This is also natural within democracy. Everyone has the right to speak, write and put forth their side. In the same way, opposition should also be accepted. The ruling party should observe restraint and it has been the time-honoured tradition in our country. And yes, North East India is fighting to save its culture today; we should share their concern and give them assurance about the protection of their culture. There is no need to blame anyone. And how ironic that we have said that minority Hindus are being persecuted in Afghanistan! Did we need to say that? Afghanistan is our most favoured nation. Every year we are spending three billion dollars and we are big stake holders there.
On one side, Afghanistan is called friend and on the other side we hurt it with such allegations! This is not fair.
And does it suit the stature of India that our neighbour Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan cancel their India visit after being hurt by the allegations.
I believe that the BJP’s election manifesto included issues like Ram Mandir, Article 370, triple talaq, Uniform Civil Code, driving out illegal immigrants, Population control. On the basis of that, the BJP also got a landslide victory. It formed the government. The main job of the government is to work for the welfare of the people. Political issues cans be addressed later. Today there is a need to tackle the economic condition of the country on priority basis. There is a need to help in sustaining the industries so that the Prime Minister's big dream of ‘Make in India’ can be fulfilled. There is a need to create employment. Ensuring that everyone gets work and sufficient food sis the fundamental task. Just as the Congress enacted the Act of ‘Right to Food’, ‘Right to Education’ and ‘Right to Information’, the present government should pass the accountability bill to ensure that the responsibility of every department and every officer is fixed to make sure that the public work is expedited.
And yes, keep in mind that while 80 per cent of population is Hindu, there are 20 per cent who constitute minorities. Hindus are elder brothers but the Indian Constitution gives equal rights to all. Those who framed the constitution included people from all classes and ideologies. They were scholarly people. They drafted the best constitution in the world after long and deep deliberation. It is the duty of every Indian to protect the Constitution.
Vijay Darda
Lokmat Media
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This article was published in Lokmat Times, Lokmat Samachar and Lokmat Marathi daily across the state of Maharashtra. Here are the epaper cuttings:

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