In the last 24 hours, we have witnessed Markandey Katju, Salman Khurshid and Ram Kadam giving the world the impression that laws in India do not apply to all equally and can be manipulated.
Press Council chief Katju has asked the Maharashtra governor to pardon Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt whose conviction in a 1993 blasts case was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday. Katju’s uncalled for intervention on behalf of the actor is strange.
Why should Dutt be treated any differently from the other convicts in the case? After all, hasn’t the highest court in the land decided that he is guilty? Doesn’t that court’s judgement count for anything? And if Dutt must be granted mercy, why shouldn’t the not-so-well-known convicts in same case, who will serve sentences for their minimal roles in the blasts, be granted mercy too?
Second, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the Italian marines won’t be given the death sentence. Who is Khurshid to decide that? Is the judiciary not independent of the executive? Will the judiciary not decide for itself if the crime the marines are charged with merits the death sentence?
Finally, some Maharashtra MLAs, led by Ram Kadam, beat up a policeman inside the hallowed Vidhan Bhavan, clearly showing how little they fear the law of the land. Despite all the noise made, few believe the MLAs will be punished. So, what’s to stop other lawmakers from treating the guardians of the law with similar contempt?
If these three instances tell us one thing, it is this: what the law says and the judiciary rules carries little weight when it is not about the common man. And this will only have disastrous consequences for our country.