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.

Rough justice as woman kills politician she accused of rape

An alleged rape and a violent stabbing left an Indian politician dead and a 40-year-old woman in police custody on Tuesday night, as Rupam Pathak reportedly took the law into her own hands to avenge 18-month-old sexual assault charges.
A file photo showing an incarcerated prisoner REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Bihar state legislator Raj Kishore Kesri was killed in his own home before an audience of dozens by a mother of two after charges first lodged in May 2010 against the four-time representative were reportedly dropped “under duress” from Kesri and his associates.

Pathak will almost certainly be sent to jail for her premeditated crime, after appearing to take what she considered the only option available to punish the man she says raped her.

A local school owner, Pathak was beaten by Kesri’s supporters after the stabbing, and as she was taken to hospital reportedly shouted: “Don’t take me for treatment. Hang me. I don’t want to live anymore. Nobody knows what I have been through.”

A horrible day in Haryana, and a challenge to India’s police

I had a truly depressing day in Haryana this week, reporting on the murder of a 21-year-old girl and her 22-year-old boyfriend .

The bodies of Sunita Devi (L), 21, and her partner Jasbir Singh, 22, lie on the ground after they were killed by villagers in an “honour killing” in Ballah village in the northern Indian state of Haryana May 9, 2008.It was sad enough to meet a village where many appeared proud of this brutal murder. To come home and see the photos of Sunita and Jasbir, laid out outside her father’s house for all the world to see, was heartbreaking.

Fear still stalks the villages of Balla and Machhroli where the murders took place. Jasbir’s family have been threatened by other villagers that they will also be killed if they speak to the media or if they refuse to drop charges.