April 3, 2009

A Fair Deal

On November 26, 2008 the city of Mumbai was attacked by a group of militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan based militant outfit. Te authorities were successful in capturing one of the attackers, Ajmal Amir Kasib, alive.

His being captured alive led to many consequences. One of them was quite unexpected.

Ajmal's capture caused a debate as to whether Ajmal deserved to be defended by a lawyer in a court of all. One side was of the belief that his involvement in the crime was beyond doubt and there was no reason for a trial; he should just be sentenced. The other side believed that the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to legal aid and representation, and it also goes on to say that every defendant, regardless of his nationality, gets a “fair, just and equitable procedure” in court.

The two sides had been at loggerheads for quite a while. Even the Mumbai Bar Association passed a resolution where it asked its members not to defend Ajmal in any court of law. While many Judges were in favor of appointing a lawyer for Ajmal.

During the course of the debate, I favored the side that was in favor of a quick sentence for Ajmal. I mean his guilt in the event is undeniable, as can be seen in the picture alongside, where he is seen brandishing an AK-47. Many innocent people were killed in the Mumbai attacks, and even the Constitution of India gives the state the right to override the Fundamental Rights, when there is a threat to national security. The attacks on Mumbai were clearly a threat to the security of India.

Moreover, it is also a fact that the judicial machinery takes its time to run its course. In that time, sometimes the defendants find a way to wriggle out of the claws of the legal system. Therefore, in such exceptional cases, we could dispense with the normal route, and punish the guilty.
However, a special Mumbai court, decided that Ajmal deserved to be defended in court, and appointed Anjali Waghmare as his lawyer. As soon as this news got out, there was strong opposition in the country against this decision. On Monday night, some people staged a protest outside her house, and even pelted her house with stones. Despite the opposition, Anjali has now agreed to defend Ajmal in court. The Mumbai police will provide her with Z category security at all times of the day.

As I said before, I was of the opinion that Ajmal should be sentenced straight away, especially because his guilt is proven and does not need any further proof. However, if the judicial system feels that it is necessary that he gets legal aid, then we, as citizens of India, should support the decision. After all, the courts are only trying to ensure that The world's largest democracy does not falter and stays on course. It is , sometimes, easy to get carried away by emotions and let the impulses get the better of you. But, I think, it is praiseworthy that the judges have tried to be true to the spirit of justice, and given Ajmal a fair chance.

Now, the only thing that remains is that the case is brought to a speedy conclusion, and is not allowed to last for any longer than is necessary.

4 comments:

PERBS said...

I can almost understand your emotions on this case. Not fully because I don't live there. I am glad he gets a lawyer tho because then India can say he had a fair trial. I am not for the death penalty-- an eye for an eye -- BUT I wish we could give our worst criminals daily hard labor and no comfy cells or TV and not even a library to go to and such. Sometimes teh worst criminals get better care than the poor. Off my soap box. . . It is good to see you posting.

SandyCarlson said...

Notions of fair play drive me nuts sometimes. A healthy democracy can handle it. May justice come to this man.

byrningbunny said...

An interesting dilemma in a modern society. I'm for "wasting the money" to see due process take place. Let both sides have their say in a public court of law. Let the laws be clearly understood. Let the consequences be carried out swiftly. And let us learn.

This is my first time at your blog and I found it very interesting reading. Keep up the good work.

stev said...

very hard to draw or see the line at times

imho that's why it's important the the line & rules be drawn & followed inasmuchaspossible all the time

and then if truly exceptions occur, to be discussed & a resolution made to save time/energy/$ in the future

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