DailyPost 2125

If the same assembly line produces different types of motor vehicles, when it was created to produce only one type /design / model, it would certainly surprise each one of us. Application of law bears some analogy to it. It has to provide justice based on hard coded laws, process and evidence. It should also seem to be done. It means that the conscience collective of the people should also satisfied. Even the person convicted should not find any issues with the sections, its ingredients, and the process followed end to end till the final delivery of justice. Delivery of justice also means punishment for someone or somebody’s claim declared legally not tenable. Law is all about technicality and legality and any action devoid of it, is bad in law, should be shown the door at the first interface with the criminal justice system.

The principles of jurisprudence behind this robust mechanism are well established and known to all practicing stakeholders. Aberrations can happen but few and far between, and at the very worst marginal. There is a human being at the other end, who pays for it. He can never be compensated even if he finally wins the legal battle. Why create such a scenario in the first place.? Serious aberrations put the system in jeopardy. In any democratic system the battle is to provide legality to whatever you achieve or acts you perform. Providing legality has a process and having gone through the process, it satisfies one and all, or at the worst is made acceptable to all. Governments fight for legality if not constituted in a clear-cut legal manner. And we find factions of political parties fighting for their legal existence.

Even for the initial students of law, with the illustrations provided, for example in the Indian Penal Code, it would be sufficient not to err. The ingredients of each of the sections, the scenarios thereof, the well-established interpretations, the SOPs, the supervisory mechanism provided are all taught in law schools, police & judicial academies and with guidance of the seniors, nothing is left to doubt. By a year or two of practice, everything is crystal clear. There is enormous help available if one intends to take. Application of law in word, spirit and its highest-level conventions / traditions, throughout the criminal justice system is actually the law of the land. Rest can be at best be different types of arm chair discussion.

If our struggle is still with sections of law or if it can be used at will, even after using the same law for ages, there are issues that need to be set right. Besides, registering or not registering a case, using wrong sections of law has been plaguing our system for a variety of reasons. Can any number of cases can be registered for the same offence? Does the spirit of the law allow for that? It shows the way justice should navigate. Arrest or not to arrest, has clear cut parameters, but discretion is bringing its worst dimension to the fore. The pace of arrest also speaks stories. Bail or no bail, when in public eye it is treated as a punishment, is being decided differently at different levels, under the same law. Is liberty not the final parameter? Discretion is the antithesis of law.

Sanjay Sahay

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