Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Misplaced sentiments

Every profession demands some qualities from its practitioners. A surgeon, for example, should have no fear of blood. The surgeon should not hesitate to remove the diseased cells. Similarly, a judge should not be afraid of enforcing the law and thereby achieving justice. The judge should not act like a priest whose job it may be to let off the guilty after hearing the confession. There are occasions when performance of priestly duties may amount to abdication of judicial obligations.

Though innocent lives need to be protected, it is not the duty of a judge to stave off the gallows for the fiendish criminal at any cost. Sympathy for the undeserving amounts to cruelty for the innocent. Religious sentiments may require liberal treatment even for the most obnoxious and the cruel. These sentiments are out of place in the realm of law and justice.

Attempts by a judge to convert the court of justice into a place for dubious sermons are despicable. Such errant judges are an insidious threat to dispensation of justice. The judge claims that 'after all, law is for man' as if this is a justification to throw justice to all the remaining men to the dogs. Perverted sentiments may satisfy one's desire for oneupmanship, but are not conducive to delivery of justice.

Such are the thoughts that come to one's mind on reading the following report in The Hindu:

"After all law is for man, and law is never helpless and particularly the Supreme Court, which is the repository of high powers and protector of life, shall not be rendered powerless," Justice Joseph observed.
Staying the death warrant, Justice Joseph said the apex court did not follow the mandatory rules of procedure while constituting the bench of judges which dismissed the curative petition.
Justice Joseph observed that the Supreme Court committed serious procedural violation under Order 48, Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 by not including all the judges, including himself, who heard Memon's review petition in the subsequent curative process.
Dismissing Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's argument that this was only a technical hitch, Justice Joseph said this procedural lapse almost cost a man his life and would lead to miscarriage of justice.
He said a prisoner, especially a death row convict, is entitled to the due process of law under Article 21 of the Constitution.
"The curative petition (of Memon) requires to be considered afresh in terms of Order 48, Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013," Justice Joseph held, stalling the case."

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