Uttarakhand and speedy justice..!

How quickly the courts came to the rescue of the beleaguered government in Uttarakhand! In just a matter of days a weeping chief minister was looking joyful and happy. Most of us were very proud how fast the courts worked, but did we realise that if it had been one of us, justice would have taken decades to happen? That a case can drag on till the person seeking justice is dead and gone?
In a democracy, both the decisions of the elected members and that of the judiciary go hand in hand. It has to be so perfectly balanced, one cannot override the other, and when this happens democracy thrives and flourishes. But when courts lag behind, when judgements are not delivered in time, and judges are holidaying most of the year, then there is actually no democracy. What we have in this country is the rule of a lynching mob.
In the good old days of the cowboys in America, a lynching mob would gather to dispense justice quickly; they would not wait for the sheriff to come to take a horse thief or a coloured person to prison, but the mob would decide by majority vote to kill the man. “Why are you hanging me, I only stole a horse!” he would cry in terror, but the mob would hang him, because that was their idea of speedy justice.
It was not justice, it was anger. It was revenge. It was prejudice. Justice is not about anger or revenge, justice is about fair punishment for a crime or no punishment for no crime. In our country it becomes punishment as soon as you file a case!
I have seen men and women becoming poverty stricken as every last paisa goes towards lawyer’s fees, court dates, delays, adjournments and other harassments, and have seen resolute brave men and women become tired and broken as the nation’s justice system breaks them bit by bit.
No government is interested in bringing in judicial reforms, because elected representatives look at courts as rivals. They feel courts rob them off their power, and very often those powers are those of the lynching mob. Most governments also have a sizable number of criminals in their fold. Not only do we have less courts, less judges, but also remnants of the old British holidays and most courts work only 200 days a year. Men and women languish in jail, and after ten, fifteen, twenty years are found innocent! Is that justice? This could happen to any one of us, and before we become old men and women and leave jail or the court with walking sticks let us demand more courts, more judges, less holidays.
Till that happens we cannot claim to be a democracy, unless ofcourse we are a beleaguered government in Uttarakhand..!

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