Editorial: Mockery Of Justice In Pune

Editorial: Mockery Of Justice In Pune

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 11:48 AM IST
article-image

If a person is capable of raping a girl, he is also capable of facing punishment for rape. There is no need to treat him as an adolescent just because he is yet to attain 18. When Nirbhaya was gang-raped and thrown from a moving bus in Delhi, the “cruelest” behaviour was that of an adolescent, who received only the maximum punishment of three years under the juvenile justice Act. The incident in Pune in which a boy, who would turn 18 in a few months, consumed liquor at a pub, drove a brand-new Porsche car, which did not have a number plate, at break-neck speed and instantly killed a motorcyclist and his pillion rider reminded the nation of the bus cleaner in Delhi. Why should a person who could drive in a drunken state and kill two persons be given kid-glove treatment?

The boy was released on bail with laughable conditions like having to write a 300-word essay on road safety and helping the traffic police for a fortnight. Ordinarily, he should have been sent to a correctional facility, if not jail. Despite CCTV evidence that he had liquor at a pub where he and his friends celebrated his clearing the CBSE examination, he was not subjected to an alcohol test in time. What’s more, he was offered pizza while he was in police custody. He was also charged with simple offences like negligent driving where bail, not jail, is the norm. Instead, he should have been charged with manslaughter, if not murder. The only sensible step the Pune Police took was to arrest the boy’s father, a prosperous realtor, who gave the boy the key to his new car, and the owner and manager of the pub, who are not supposed to serve liquor to anyone under 25.

The public perception is that the extremely soft treatment meted out to the boy was because of the illegal gratification the police received. Indications are that the police wanted to help the boy, rather than bring justice to the relatives of the two engineers who were killed, almost instantly. There is a strong case for amending the juvenile justice law under which such a person should be treated as an adult. If a juvenile can commit a heinous crime, he can also face the consequences of his act. A person who is one day or a few months short of being 18 should not be able to use the argument of underage to escape punishment. It is a distressing fact that where rich children are involved in hit-and-run cases as in the 1999 BMW case in Delhi in which a boy mowed down six persons, they are able to exploit the loopholes in the system. That is how Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of a former Naval Chief and son of an arms dealer was able to come out of jail without completing his full term. One of the eyewitnesses turned hostile when he said that it was a truck, not a BMW car, which killed the six. In fact, a majority of the witnesses were bought over by the defendants.

In Mumbai, a well-known film star, who accidentally killed a pavement sleeper under his wheels, was given the benefit of the doubt and let off, although he was given a tough punishment by the lower court. In the case of television journalist Soumya Viswanathan, the accused, who were convicted for murder and given life imprisonment were released on bail till the pendency of the appeal against the verdict. In this case, three of the convicts were already in jail facing trial in another murder case. They were, of course, hired assassins who do not have the financial wherewithal to fight cases. Obviously, persons behind her murder have been helping the hired assassins. What is common in all these cases is that the guilty are either rich themselves or have the support of the rich. In the instant case, the son who is primarily guilty and his father who showed no sense of social commitment when he allowed his son to drive his new car, deserve the severest punishment. Allowing pubs to serve liquor in residential areas until 1.30 am is tantamount to letting crime happen in Pune.

RECENT STORIES

RSS Moves A Trailer, Real Show To Come

RSS Moves A Trailer, Real Show To Come

Can Climate Action Stop Wars?

Can Climate Action Stop Wars?

Lessons Of The Election Verdict In An Unlikely Democracy

Lessons Of The Election Verdict In An Unlikely Democracy

Editorial: Modi At G-7 Raised India’s Profile

Editorial: Modi At G-7 Raised India’s Profile

Political Churns Come To The Fore As Italy Hosts G7 Summit

Political Churns Come To The Fore As Italy Hosts G7 Summit