The Law Has Failed

The Indian Law hit a nadir today.

On 16th Dec 2012, a young lady - Nirbhaya (meaning Fearless) - was raped by a gang of 6 men. 15 days later she succumbed to her injuries. The horrific nature of the assault evoked strong reactions and protests from the society, with the intention to make the country a better place for women.

One of the 6 assailants died in custody three months later. Four others were sentenced to death. The last one was a minor on the date of the crime. And in a reflection of the archaic laws in the country, he was sentenced to just three years of imprisonment in a reform facility (since he was a juvenile).

The sentencing raised a lot of eyebrows about the juvenile law in the country. The quantum of the punishment for the juvenile hurt a lot of people. People hoped for a change in the law before he would be released. 

How wrong were they !

In an extremely unfortunate turn of events, he was released today from the juvenile facility, less than 3 years after her death. 

The law was not revised. The law stood standstill. Law actually turned out to be what everyone claimed - Blind.

The sentencing brought to forefront the inordinate nature of the law for juvenile criminals. Sound reasoning cannot justify that five of the six accused are given the highest possible punishment while one of them is given just 3 years in prison. 

Three years in prison for the man who was considered as the most brutal would reflect a failure of the law, the failure of the judiciary and the failure of the country.

For the last 3 years after the grisly attack, the Government did not undertake any steps to correct this primitive law. Politicians cutting across party lines had all the time on the earth to campaign, to fight elections, to visit foreign countries. Yet, they did not have time to correct this piece of law.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj helped actor Orlando Bloom get an Indian Visa in a day, just a day after he was deported from Delhi to the U.K due to he rejection of his earlier e-visa. Yet, she did not feel the necessity to pursue the matter of juvenile criminals with the same earnest.

The current Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited 30 countries since assuming office 18 months ago, to improve the image of the country. But he did not have the time to initiate steps to rectify the law and make the country safer. This shocking end result is bound to bring down the credibility of the country across the world.

Opposition stalwart Rahul Gandhi campaigned fervently to restore the credibility of the opposition party across the nation. He begged the ruling party to actively involve the opposition party in the decision making and law making process in the Parliament. But the same opposition party failed the nation by refusing to actively take up the restructuring of the juvenile law.

And last but not the least, the Supreme Court failed by refusing to ask the Government of India a position on this important matter. It did not push and poke the Government on this crucial aspect of law concerning the safety of people in the country. The same Supreme Court could ban registration of diesel SUVs in New Delhi. But it could not get the antiquated juvenile law amended.

The last few days have seen a hectic activity from the brave victim's family, social leaders and the society. People have been actively campaigning for stopping the release of the criminal. Yet, the law refused to listen. It has closed it's ears.

Last night, the Delhi Commission of Women moved the Supreme court to have a last minute review. However, in a post midnight judgement at 2.00 AM, the Supreme Court refused to have an urgent hearing and decided to hear the matter on Monday.

The Supreme Court convened later on Monday and refused to stay the release of the criminal.

"We share your concern but our hands are tied by the existing law. There has to be clear legislative sanction to extend the detention period beyond 3 years. Under the present law, detention cannot be extended beyond three years," the Supreme Court of India said.

This has left the onus on the law makers, our very own elected political leaders, to amend the law. They did not act on this urgent and important matter for the past 3 years, resulting in this shameful situation.

Why are we so hard? Why do we refuse to give these important matters the importance they deserve? Why do we refuse to leave a legacy which will stand in good stead for generations to come? Why do we just go with the status quo?

Why is our law so lethargic? Aren't we eager to give safe streets, safe cities, and a safe country to our women and our people? 

Why are we bounded by laws which were designed in medieval times? Why do we refuse to learn? Why do we refuse to adapt and improve?

As I walked home on Friday, I was hanging my head in shame, seeing the state of affairs in the matter.

India has failed a generation of women.

Today, the ghastly criminal is free. Once again, women across the country are not safe, because a criminal is lurking in the shadows.

The Law Has Failed The Law Has Failed Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, December 21, 2015 Rating: 5

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