Saturday, March 23, 2013
SANJAY DUTT AND THE POLICTCS OF MERCY: WHY HE MUST SERVE TIME IN JAIL
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books Rule of Law is a regime in which the law is equally enforced against all, irrespective of status, wealth and pedigree. Unfortunately, this time honoured convention is being undermined by the senseless manner in which politicians like Dig Vijaya Singha and Markendeya Katju are loudly advocating clemency for Sanjay Dutt. This politicization of the judicial process has already led to the delay in carrying out the executions of the Rajiv Gandhi killers and the Sikhs convicted of killing Beant Singh. There is nothing new in this: right from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, the India judiciary is being undermined by the political class. The Supreme Court of the land has found Sanjay Dutt guilty of illegal purchase and storage of arms. Worse he acquired the weapons from Dawood Ibrahim who was the mastermind behind the 1995 serial blasts in Mumbai. Sanjay Dutt was 33 years old and he cannot claim that he was not aware of his actions. If he is pardoned because of the clamour from both the glitterati and from the political goons, then a very bad precedent will be set. When Laloo Prasad Yadava is convicted for his role in the fodder scam and when Salman Khan faces the punishment for the killing of innocent animals or in the hit and run case these very man will quote the Sanjay Dutt precedent and ask for clemency/ pardon. The political class and the influential will be beyond the reach of law. Even now the political class is shielding its own and with the bad precedent of pardon then they can just walk out of court rooms the moment they are convicted. In fact Karunanidhi the bandicoot from Tamil Nadu used the executive privilege to pardon a DMK criminal who killed Maekala, a very bold dalit councillor in Madurai who used her position to supply piped drinking water to the homes od dalits and freed them from depending on the water tankers run by the associates of DMK politco-criminals. The constitution has to be amended to do away with the "clemency" power granted to the Presidents and Governors. In fact Pratibha Patil pardoned convicts guilty of heinous crimes and earned for herself opprobrium and universal contempt. Sanjay Dutt was aware of the illegality of possessing arms and he was also aware of the fact that the arms were coming from Dawood Ibrahim. It is entirely another matter that most of the Bollywood films are financed by the underworld and perhaps even some of Sanjay Dutt's own films. However, to say that he deserves to be pardoned for this crime is to insult the memory of 257 men, women and children killed in the 1993 blasts. The rights of the victim for justice too needs to be taken into consideration. The fact that Sunil Dutt was a Congress MP and his daughter Priya is a sitting MP is behind the campaign for mercy. Political considerations need not weigh matters of justice and law. In fact every politically connected criminal will now be emboldened by the ugly precedent which will be set. The law must take its course and politicians must not be allowed to deter the course of justice. The call for pardon is mispalaced and it is being drummed up keeping the interests of film financiers, who take money from the underworld and of cource clelebrity criminals like Salman Khan, Tabu, Saif Ali Khan and the like. If this man is given pardon whu not Manu Sharma, Vikas Yadava, the killers of Nirbhaya and the list is endless.