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Health, education, law & order are some of the defining features of the status of a society. But existence of a dynamic, realistic, truly responsive Justice delivery system is the hallmark of any civilized society that distinguishes it from other conglomerates of human groups. A great emphasis is therefore laid in every civilized society to inculcate good values in its people and a modest beginning is made with a well known adage. As you sow, so you reap. No wonder then “Always respect the law”, “Don’t take law in your hands, law will take its own course”  are some of the much touted clichés commonly heard in every civilized society.

In fact every civilized society is indoctrinated on the maxim that respecting law and abiding law would ensure a safe & secured life for the people. People take this to be a gospel truth and this fancy notion results into generating a kind of subliminal confidence & assurance in their minds that the ‘STATE’ has endeavored to tailor laws to meet all their legitimate needs, aspirations to make their life safe & secured so it is in their own interest to follow law or else any breach or delinquency on their part would visit them harm and invite punishment in accordance with law. This sense of complaisance for law often leads to develop a sort of uncanny complacency in their minds of the people that more they obey law or don’t breach it, the more they would be crowned with respectability in the society and would ever fare well happily in life.

But have we ever wondered how true is this truism in actual practice? Instances are not rare when we come across people known to be law abiding citizens suffering for no fault of theirs and the delinquents who caused  them the grief & misery roaming about freely in society under the protective shield of law . Is it not a case where law failed to honour its mandate to protect & safeguard the interests /rights of its patrons for one reason or the other? When the culprits go scot free it adds insult to their injury and that exposes the very myth of civilized society that in effect it is no different from its uncivil cousin- barbaric society.

This makes it clear that though ‘law’ is necessary it is simply not sufficient in itself to help us on its own. After all it needs crutches of evidence to make it move to come to our aid, help & rescue. The stronger the clutches we provide to it in our favour, the faster it reaches us or else dumps us to our fate.

 Nothing could better illustrate or elucidate this stark reality than the recent verdict pronounced after an agonizing inordinate delay in world’s worst industrial disaster that took place about a century ago at Bhopal taking a huge toll of some 15,134 precious lives and crippling about 6 lakh people whose only fault was that they were mostly poor labourers working in the culprit UNION CARBIDE COMPANY at the time of the disaster or happened to reside near abouts in the city as a lot of peace loving abiding citizens & who were not known to have stood on the wrong side of law.

Now, as the verdict is out, it is obvious that law has taken its course and done what was within its competence. But has it given justice to the hapless people who desperately needed that? Has law granted them adequate compensation to their colossal losses, let alone assure them a safe & secured life? The verdict has not only failed to fully assuage their hurt feelings which they were nursing all this while in the vain hope of justice, nor has it caught hold of the real culprits of the crime- let alone punishing them adequately. The real culprits are still at large, beyond the pale of law and even those who happened to face the trial case were awarded lighter punishments not adequate or compatible to the culpability of their heinous crime.

It is not simpliciter a case where justice was denied due to sheer delay. But it is a compounded case where demise of justice was virtually presaged way back in the year 1996 (13th sept 1996 to be precise) when Hon’ble the supreme court didn’t permit the accused to be hauled up for severe offence u/s 304 II IPC- culpable homicide not amounting to murder – attracting a maximum punishment of 10 years. So, the real script of their miserable destiny was already written way back about 14 years ago by Hon’ble the Apex court and what has been delivered by the trial court at Bhopal on 7th June 2010 is merely a resurgence of apparition of that dead justice. So, no amount of railing or wailing would avail the victims of any semblance of relief or solace as long as we follow a system of weak, archaic, unrealistic law & justice that is too esoteric, oblivious & impervious to the ground realities falling too short to meet the challenges of the changing times & legitimate expectations of the law abiding, conscientious people.

One only hopes this verdict how so ever belated or unpalatable, may prove to be an eye opener for our so called custodians of law and guardians of public weal to avoid any such contretemps to occur in future.


Tagged in: justice law legal society
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