India Insight

Has the judiciary been a let-down?

A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi December 7, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur/FilesA former Chief Minister of Karnataka sparked off a controversy in the 1990s by comparing the country’s legislative, executive, judiciary and the fourth estate to four pall-bearers of India’s democracy.

Many would have disagreed with the cynicism the comments displayed, especially regarding the judiciary.

An activist judiciary in the 90s was seen as the moving force behind a range of public-service initiatives.

The legal system, seen by many as the last line of defence against a corrupt system, has recently attracted adverse attention for its perceived failures.

In the Aarushi murder case, the country’s premier investigating agency, under the tenure of three successive CBI directors couldn’t nail anyone for lack of evidence.

Is it time to end the death penalty in India?

Special Prosecuter Ujjwal Nikam holds up a document, with a cover showing Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, at Arthur Road Jail where Kasab's trial was held, in Mumbai May 6, 2010. REUTERS/Arko Datta

Suddenly, everyone in India is talking about executions.

Grim hangings are a topic of animated conversation at water coolers, cocktail parties and chat shows. Everyone seems to favour them, the quicker the better.

Just weeks ago, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani gunman convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was sentenced to death by hanging.

Everywhere in Mumbai, where 166 people were gunned down by Kasab and his accomplices, people cheered and fought to express their joy to newspapers and TV channels.

Ruchika case: Easy on the policeman?

Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player, was molested by then Haryana police IG S.P.S. Rathore in Panchkula in 1990.

Three years later, Ruchika killed herself, which her friend and case witness Aradhana attributes to the harassment of Ruchika and her family by those in power.

Nineteen years later, Rathore walks away with six months of rigorous imprisonment and a 1000-rupee fine, reportedly due to his old age and the “prolonged trial”.

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