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Legal fraternity indignant over Ansals escaping jail term

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By Parmod Kumar

New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s decision to waive off the rest of the jail term of the powerful Ansal brothers, convicted for causing death in the Uphaar cinema fire by their negligence, hasn’t gone down too well in the judicial corridors and also evoked much disquiet among the average litigant about the court’s lenient attitude towards the rich and the powerful.

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The apex court Wednesday said that Ansal brothers will not go back to Tihar Jail to serve their remaining jail terms as it imposed a fine of Rs. 30 crores each on them.

Describing it “unfortunate order”, where the victims have been completely given a good-bye, well-known lawyer Kamini Jaiswal told IANS: “Having waited for 19 years with full faith and confidence in judiciary this must be a traumatic experience” for them.

“This fortifies the impression carried by many that the (judicial) yard-stick varies for the rich and famous and the poor,” Jaiswal added.

“The judgment is not in accordance with the law of the land. Fifty-nine people have died. The case of gross negligence was clearly established. Therefore it was a fit case to award maximum sentence of two years (as provided) under the Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code”, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade told IANS.

However, holding that there was “nothing wrong in the order,” Rupinder Singh Sodhi: a former Delhi High Court judge and now a practicing senior counsel in the apex court, told IANS: “Ansals have already undergone a substantial part of the one year sentence awarded to them by the Delhi High Court. There is a provision for fine under Section 304A Fine is not a lesser sentence. Nor is it a compromise nor can you term it blood money as has been said.”

“Please understand, we don’t believe in an eye-for-an-eye or a tooth-for-a-tooth,” Justice Sodhi said, addding: “This is a sentence provided under Section 304A IPC and it is that sentence that has been awarded to Ansals. They have been given both.”

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Section 304A that provides for punishment for causing death by negligence says:”Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

Differing with Justice Sodhi, Jaiswal said: “If the application for enhancement of sentence (as was sought by the CBI) was to be rejected, the sentence given by the High Court should at least have been have been confirmed.”

Naphade had reservations over the way entire case was handled, saying: “Perhaps the case could have been brought under Section 304 part II but unfortunately that angle was not seriously pursued.”

There seems to be a disquiet amongst the lawyers over the manner in which the punishments under the penal provision gets invoked differently depending on the social milieu of the litigant and it is this that found expression when senior counsel Ravindra Srivastava told IANS: “The law regarding sentencing should be consistent and should be consistently applied.”

(IANS)

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Mercy for the Nirbhaya Rapists?

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past.

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Nirbhaya
The Nirbhaya incident in Delhi was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India.

By Salil Gewali

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.

Nirbhaya rape
The public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night.

Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.

Nirbhaya rape
Advocate Indira Jaising suggested that the convicts of Nirbhaya rape case could be “forgiven” by the parents.

However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”

The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.

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In 2015, the Delhi Government proposed to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine.

Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine?  Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?

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I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali