oppn parties Kathua Rape & Murder Verdict: Faith In Judiciary Reaffirmed

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  • The government decides to decriminalize more than two-thirds of penal sections in the Companies Act
  • Muslim groups tell the Supreme Court that they want the Babri Masjid to be restored
  • Muslim groups claim that while they were asked questions in court, Hindus were not questioned
  • Postpaid mobile services restored in Jammu & Kashmir from today, but still no internet
  • Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American currently a professor at MIT, wins the 2019 Noble prize in economics jointly with two others
  • Industrial output slumps in August as the IIP shrinks by 1.1%
  • Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a cultural show at the Shore Temple in Mamallapuram
  • J&K administration lifts the ban on entry of tourists in the Valley, but it remains doubtful how many will visit without being able to use mobile phones and internet
  • After Sena asks members to support the BJP candidate in Kalyan, 26 party corporators and 300 members resign setting off a crisis
  • The Centre sets up a 12-member committee to suggest systemic changes in the GST structure to improve compliance and collection, prevent misuse and evasion and rationalize rates and slabs
  • In line with the RBI outlook on the Indian economy, rating firm Moody's also downgrades growth forecast from 6.8% to 5.8% this year, saying the economy is experiencing a pronounced slowdown
  • HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh says the financial system in India does not offer foolproof security for misuse of the savings of the common man
  • Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, promoters of Ranbaxy and Fortis, arrested for their role in Religare Finvest scam
  • Supreme Court says marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down irretrievably
  • DA of Central government staff hiked by 5% to 17%
Sourav Ganguly is the new president of BCCI, says conflict of interest is a big concern
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Kathua Rape & Murder Verdict: Faith In Judiciary Reaffirmed

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Some judgments, despite not being landmark judgments, are very important as they inspire faith in the judiciary, the legal system and the investigation process. The judgment by Judge Tejwinder Singh of the Pathankot Sessions Court in the Kathua rape and murder case falls in this category. The very fact that the Supreme Court chose to assign the case to the Pathankot court bypassing the jurisdictional court proves that due process was being vitiated and the apex court had to intervene to set things right. The apex court rightly surmised that if the case was heard and decided by the jurisdictional court, justice would not be done as there would be a lot of outside pressure on all involved in delivering justice.

The case attracted a lot of attention for the fact that it was taken up by votaries of Hindutva as one in which the Hindu community was targeted by investigators as the victim was from the Bakarwal nomadic community which follows the Muslim faith. The place of the crime was also the bone of contention, as they were the rooms behind a temple. The prime accused was the keeper of the temple. All this injected a huge communal angle to the case with the formation of Hindu Ekta Manch and involvement of BJP legislators in demanding the release of the accused. The prosecution was browbeaten and the investigating team was not allowed to visit some places. There were daily rallies in support of the accused. Efforts were also made to deepen the religious and regional divide in Jammu & Kashmir.

But in the end, the investigation and the judicial process triumphed. Three persons, Sanji Ram (the temple keeper), Parvesh Kumar and Deepak Khajuria have been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 25 years in jail for rape. Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, Special Police Officer Surender Verma and Head Constable Tilak Raj got a five-year term for destroying evidence and misleading the investigating police team about the place where the crime took place. The J&K police need to be commended for carrying out a thorough and impartial investigation that adhered to due process. That they did it in quick time proves that if the police force is unbiased and free from political pressures, it can bring all criminals to book.

The BJP and the Centre should now study the case in detail and seek reasons why such hullabaloo was created over what was essentially a crime in which a minor girl was raped and murdered to teach a lesson to the Bakarwal community to which she belonged. It must study why BJP legislators got involved and why people close to the BJP formed the Manch to support the accused. The party must tell all concerned that such things that put roadblocks in the judicial and investigating process will not be tolerated. A crime is a crime regardless of the people involved and all criminals must be punished. Local leaders must not be given the leeway they were given in this case. Unless the government acts to put a stop to such hooliganism, people’s faith in the due process will be shaken.