Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jottings on 12th December 2015 - (2002 - Hit and run - Ruminations on a judicial travesty and an act of magnanimity)

2002 - Hit and run - Ruminations on a judicial travesty and an act of magnanimity
In 2002, a "car carrying an actor" drove over few unfortunate individuals who happened to be sleeping on the pavements of Mumbai. One of them lost his life, others incapacitated for life losing active livelihood. Like everything else there was national outcry, and the question debated in the courts of India for nearly fourteen long years was this : Was the actor driving the car when this happened, and secondly was he in state of intoxication during that period.? While common sense, the most preciously uncommon commodity, dictates beyond doubt that these were true, contrary to any arguments that may be provided by any learned exponents of law; our judiciary managed to prolong this trial for over a decade finally delivering a verdict last week, which anyway was a foregone conclusion that there is no "conclusive proof" against this "venerable actor". Though he was physically in the car, fell down twice as he attempted to run away from the ghastly tragedy, suppressed all evidence pointing a finger at him, managed to keep spinning his millions acting in inane, weather-beaten movies, voicing his opinions on social issues on national TV - the law of the land has let him go scot-free without so much as a minor penalty. Well this is not unusual in democracy these days. A couple of weeks ago Oscar pestorious was again declared innocent by the highest court in South Africa. All in the good name of justice and equality.
What moved me particularly in Mumbai case was a statement by one of the surviving victims - a Muslim, just after the verdict of not-guilty was announced. He said and I paraphrase
" We were expecting this result. I am not disappointed at all. I also understand what happened that fateful day was an accident. I am sure the actor never intended to run over us, but you know what, it would have been nice if he had helped us rebuild our lives afterwards. He has the means and the power. Anyway, I am glad this is over. We have already got over that bad phase and moved along. I hope he can also move on..."
As I read this, My eyes welled with tears. What wisdom!, intellectual maturity! and practicality in a man who is essentially an illiterate, living at the fringes of society. He will suffer consequences of those tragic few minutes for an entire lifetime; Yet, his heart is free of any malice. In my eyes, this young man has rendered the perfect justice that one can hope for. In the ancient tradition of law givers and makers, where wisdom is used as yardstick to mete to justice - this is most fitting. Though, it was reported without any fanfare as a casual comment in larger context, In my eyes, this man is a hero of the highest inner stature. Probably, he may not have meant what he said. It doesn't matter. The very fact he said it in the midst of this superficial proceedings that we call law and order, is reason enough for me to hold him a true winner in this case.
All those in the car, the "actor" especially, should introspect on the magnanimity of the victim, and if possible , gather some of the lost dignity and respect so cheaply traded in farcical proceedings of orchestrated and misplaced justice.
God bless...
Yours in mortality,
Bala

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