Dec 192006

…. and seen to be done. Manu Sharma is guilty of Jessica Lall’s Murder. There were a flurry of SMS’s last night – mostly from women friends – and for all of us, at some level, it had become personal. It was almost as though, in India, a man could kill a woman and get away with it. I was talking online with KD yesterday, and he pointed out that the conviction was a good example of media activism. I would agree with him on this. The media played a stellar role in harnessing and focusing public opinion and outrage – sending a clear message to the system that we, the poeple, want to see justice in action. But, what about all the cases where the media does not pick up the story? What about Priyanka Bhotmange? Will there be justice for her? Is she ‘glamourous’ enough a cause for the media? I really do hope so. One of the things that is fairly evident from the whole spate of verdicts that have been handed out is that justice delayed is justice denied. And there is a lot of justice being denied. The time it takes to bring a case to trial is inordinately long. And it is about time the Criminal Justice System is completely overhauled. A 100% computerisation process across the board – and a plan to clear the back log of cases is absolutely necessary. There also needs to be a better form of compensation for those who are responsible for order and law – both the police and public prosecutors are badly paid.And finally, it is also time to seriously insist on separation of powers between the Government and all the Civil Services – including the Police. And ,crack down on any politician who abuses this. While Manu Sharma has been convicted the fact remains a lower court set him free. And that powerful family connections ensured that justice is subverted. The next step would be to bring all those who subvert justice to them, and literally throw the book at them. Examples need to be made. We have had a flurry of the ‘powerful’ being found guilty. Now, it is time that those who cover up for the powerful are brought to trial. The message needs to go out very loud and clear – you break the law, you pay the price.