Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yakub Menon received fair trial - justice is subjective

Finally Yakub has been hanged. There was a lot of debate on whether he should be hanged or not.

Extreme opinions were exchanged. One group thought it was anti-national to think of any sympathy for him - another group identified what they called "mitigating circumstances" to show clememncy in awarding him punishment.

Some points
1. He is guilty because a fair court has held him guilty (and we must understand that the court is the competent authority to have looked into evidence and take a balanced judgement on the issue)

2. He had been given a fair trial - he has presented his case through three layers of our justice system. He had supporters (those who could empathise with his perspective) outside and inside the courts.

3. We can have a healthy difference of opinions with the court (and also with the law) but no one can question the fairness of the process in this case.

4. Many people compare outcome of this case with cases of Gujarat riots or other accused of 26/11 blast cases or that of the Rajeev Gandhi assination cases and hence feel that memon was targetted at. This may be factully true and is still a "कुतर्क". Legal system is not consistent and it cannot be consistent and it is not consistent anywhere in the world - thats because human beings run the legal system. However, each case is expected to go through the same process and each has its own merits to be judged on.
This is not to say that we must not improve the system but that we must accept the outcome of the system (which sometimes may be at variance from what we believe)

5. In the same breath we must not brand those who empathise with Yakub as anti national or apologists. We must understand that this is the beauty of this country. It allows for dissent and disagreements and so, huge debates. Those on the side of Yakub are not necessarily anti-nationalists and screaming "anti-national" at them is only killing this spirit of coexistence with differing opinions.

6. Also there is a political angle to it. Many believe that the alacrity with which he was hanged is unparalleled specially because there are many languishing in the jails still to be hanged. For many the mercy petition is stuck in the home ministry or with the president for years. Many people feel - this is because there is a political dispensation at the helms, who is out there to prove that they are decisive.

Even if this is true - I think this is not relevant. We can counter argue that the opposition was also taking political mileage by wanting to delay the hanging and that earlier governments have been delaying the execution of many others to appease their vote banks.

The fact is that there was a Government at one time who would have taken excessively guarded steps before executing a guilty and then there are Governments (may be the current one is one such) who would be less guarded. Time will test both the approaches.

In nutshell - yakub's case was fairly tried and a considered judgement made. One hopes that was the case in every such case.