Uday India|December 15, 2019
Till the Muslim and, later, the British invaders dawned on the country the then prevailing system of law and justice was widely accepted and respected.

Though unwritten, the justice the then rajas and maharajas ruling in various parts of the country dispensed not only was justice but it also appeared to be so.

The British left the country independent in 1947. Still the country continues to be slave to the criminal and civil system of jurisprudence the British bequeathed to India. The Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Civil Procedure Code (CPC) and other laws were framed and imposed on the Indian people by the British alien rulers more to solidify their hold on the country and less by their desire to dispense justice. The underlying intention to let 99 guilty to go scot free but not a single innocent should get punishmentis basically not in keeping with Indian ethos.

Delay kills justice

In the heat of the moment in a number of cases the accused appear before police confessing their guilt to have committed murder and some other heinous crimes. Police record their statements. The accused are also made to make a statement before a magistrate where accused’s statement is voluntary and under no pressure or coercion. But, strangely, under the law this statement cannot be sufficient ground for his conviction. The accused is given a right to deny the statement later. If it is so, why should the police and a magistrate waste their time and energy for such useless formalities? The only solace is that prosecution can use it just to confront him with it at the time of cross-examination of the accused. In sum, a person in this country has not only the freedom and human right to commit a crime but also to deny his statement made before the police and a magistrate and the right to prove himself innocent of the crime he/she has committed — in a way right to falsify the truth!

This situation extends a right to the accused to make a statement to the police, before a magistrate and later to deny it altogether. In other words, it virtually means that besides a right to commit a crime, telling a lie and thereby cheat both the investigating agency and a court of law to prove himself innocent is a human right guaranteed to the accused under our constitution. Paradoxically, the law extends a right to person tell a lie.

Telling a lie no crime?

When a case is tried in a court of law, the prosecution and defence witnesses make statements on oath in a court of law that what they say is truth and nothing but truth. Finally, a court decides the case in favour of one of the parties. It clearly means that the court has found one of the side true and other false. Then why those who did not tell the truth are punished for making a false statement. Or does it mean that telling a lie under our system of law is not an offence and punishable.

Recall the instance of 26/11 attack on various places in Mumbai which everybody — common citizens, criminals, innocents, lawyers and judges — saw live Ajmal Kasab committing the crime live on TV leaving about 172 people dead and over 300 injured. Thanks to the bravery of our Mumbai policemen that they nabbed him alive. Yet he was afforded the right to prove himself innocent of the crime he committed in broad day light with hundreds of thousands witnessing it live on media channels. Further, hundreds of crores were spent on his security.


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December 15, 2019