Recently, I came across one advertisement in Hindi that shows truth brings mental peace to human beings.
I used to believe in the same until I came across a recent research report in Outlook India.
This report based on a study by the researchers of National Law University (NLU) on India’s death row convicts bring out some chilling information that raises questions whether it is really the truth that triumphs in our judicial system? In other words, does truth always prevail and give us much needed mental peace.
The daily noose
This study was published in Outlook, Dec 15 edition () shows the following disturbing truths –
- A majority on death row are first-time offenders
- Direct evidence was missing in most of the cases
- Confession extracted through torture relied on conviction
- Trial courts under pressure to ‘Act Tough’, award more death penalty
- Convicts do not have access to quality counsellors, lawyers, and psychiatrists
- Even though the convicts may get legal aid services, the advocates in legal aid services do not attend their cases or argue properly as they are not paid sufficiently by the state
Even though the researchers found some hatred to some castes but irrespective of caste all death row convicts had one thing in common. They were all poor.
The researchers revealed that rich people with a similar crime have been acquitted.
Some facts detailed out in the report show the poor mechanism of trial in our courts. For example, in one case where prosecution demanded 100% DNA match of three accused with that of the victim was found impossible by NLU researchers. Forensic experts refuted the possibility of ‘100% DNA match’ to NLU researchers as victim’s body was submerged in the muddy area but this point was never debated in court and the death penalty was pronounced.
This research exposes the true nature of our justice system today, as it states –
“Lawyers only spoke about money with their clients”.
When the clients are poor and they are convict of a serious crime like murder or rape only the men with money is heard by lawyers. All these death penalty convicts couldn’t even pay 100-200 rupees to their advocates per appearance. How could they expect justice?
NLU researchers found many chilling truths about these life convicts. One of them who was a BAD man to everyone, tried to break free from jail many times told the researchers that he, in fact, wanted to break out to save his wife who was being sexually exploited by the defence lawyer.
Reading through this research report shows us that human values no longer exist in the modern world.
This research also showed how India’s rich and influential escape death penalty simply by the power and money they have. The best example was from the dreadful Nithari case of serial rape and murder of young children. In that case, poor Surinder Koli was sentenced to death whereas the owner of the house M. S. Pandher is out on bail and his trial is inconclusive. Similar are the cases of other murder accused Manu Sharma, Sushil Sharma and Ravikant Sharma.
The cases elaborated in the research showed how India’s legal system works on the money. The poor were denied justice because they could not spend enough to buy the same. Yes, this report shows that Indians need to BUY JUSTICE from their courts.
Accordingly, if we look into the cases handled by our family courts we will find the same story of greed and extortion. Advocates taking the money and not appearing on the court dates, advocates taking their fees and not drafting the affidavits properly or not giving the right arguments on the argument dates or not taking proper steps for their clients are very common in all Indian family courts. Judges not looking into the evidence properly, not reading the affidavits or giving judgements based on prejudices is very common. Sudden seize of work due to an advocate death or training or some other reason is the order of the day and all clients are expected to pay their advocates their fees even if there was no work. Court papers going missing, the bench clerk not finding out the papers in time are other reasons why both side litigants end up paying extortion money (lawyer fees) to their advocates. As a result, cases in Indian family courts take years until the litigants decide an out of court settlement. This again results in huge income for both side advocates.
This NLU research is a positive step towards bringing this legal extortion to light. The problem is so serious that this corrupt legal system does not even bother to award death penalty and deny justice to poor without following proper legal procedure.
This research shows that justice in India is no more based on truth. Thus truth may no longer give us much needed peace of mind. This new- year we need a new beginning, we need legal reforms in India to ensure that truth brings back our mental peace.