Rahul da Cunha Column: Acquit India Movement

I find myself thinking much about the law this fortnight. Partly because I’ve myself been in and out of law courts. I mean what the British system left us, ‘Justice will be served’, can in turn fascinate and infuriate one. Also, many high-profile cases, have run simultaneously — each with it’s own drama and deadly consequence.

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

The judiciary in its many manifestations — the High Court, the sessions courts and Supreme Court — have been working overtime: rape and the running over of pavement dwellers/ramming into rickshaw drivers, being their prime focus.

(Smaller issues have involved Peter Mukerjea attempting to move the law to get some home-made caviar and Chianti into his jail cell; and Jiah’s mom is trying like hell to nail Aditya’s son for aiding and abetting in her daughter’s suicide)

But these are ‘small fry’ in the world of big fish cases.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of the Indian Judicial System. But the scales of justice have tilted oddly, this last week, I gotta say.

Salman Khan, aka Sallu to some and Bhai to many, is as free as the black buck he shot, once was. After 13 agonising years, he walks without a day spent inside a jail cell. And I’m thinking, Sanjay Dutt was imprisoned, for hiding a machine gun. I mean I understand that TADA is serious business, but one man, allegedly runs over a pavement dweller and he’s proved ‘innocent’. The other harbours an AK47, and he gets jail time.

So the cops apparently botched up evidence and there’s an invisible driver, running around the street corners of Bandra’s Hill Road. Then you read about Arushi’s parents convicted without sufficient evidence. And you’re thinking, something doesn’t quite add up.

The moral of this sordid tale — Being Human means being very, very lucky.

Then there’s the curious case of Janhavi Gadhkar, who like Red Riding Hood, lost her way home. But unlike Miss Hood, this one was riding a red SUV, hammered out of her mind, on the wrong side of the road. And she inevitably killed two people who lived on the wrong side of the tracks.

Surely, you’re thinking, in spite of her being loaded and a lawyer, the law will not be on her side, it’s clearly in black and white. No invisible driver, it was Janhavi Gadkar alright.

And on Wednesday, we read, she’s been given her driving licence back.

Finally there’s Nirbhaya. Last Thursday marked the third anniversary of the gruesome rape and murder. And on Friday, the vicious 20-year-old, who assaulted her, breathed free air, while the Rajya Sabha continues to sleep on the Juvenile Justice Act. While the victim’s parents scream blue murder, the lad is to be given Rs 10,000 and a sewing machine to start a tailoring shop. All he needs to do is sign a legal bond.

And I’m thinking all you Wise Men, who’re busy raiding each other, calling each other psychopaths — focus on the real psychopaths.

Then repeat after me. “We don’t negotiate with rapists.”

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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