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There have been constitutional guarantees and rights, which all of us possess and we have been repeating it over and over again, even without batting an eyelid. It is presumed to be delivered or so the powers would like us believe. All these are emancipating mental legal constructs which have to be brought into practice. Once you establish a mechanism as mandated by law, it is presumed to have happened. If the tools are in place, it is supposed to performing its task, in the best possible manner, in the interest of the individual and the community is a fallacy in itself. Its perpetuation is the nemesis of the rule of law.

It has not happened the world over. It is not having here too, maybe we are worse off. The parrot type utterings of nobody is bigger than the law, law will take its own course or the term due course of law. These are verbal tools as a manifestation of inequality before law. Otherwise, there would have been any need for these utterances. These are hollow pronouncements which have no meaning and even dangerous when used to camouflage the real intentions and also provides the capability to get away after riding roughshod. If you have experienced equality before law in all your life’s dealings, then you would go down as the most lucky citizen in the country.

The first parameter is are we aware of the law? Has the country made you legally literate? If you don’t know the law, can you force the institutions created for this purpose, to practice equality before law. For whom is it easy to invoke law; the citizen or the government? If the answer is the government, then does it any manner connote equality. If you break a law or have been perceived to have broken one, you can well imagine of the consequences. If people in the government and its agencies indulge in any of these there is no action against them. If the same action would have befallen the government, the governments would have become an accountable lot.

Who would believe in this country, that a MP and daily wage laborer are equal before the law. Does the large army of undertrials in our jails represent equality before law. How about access of quality legal services / support? When the cases are decided on the expertise of legal luminaires, where can equality come from? It is a battle of unequals. Match the acumen of prosecution lawyers with that of the defence and then you would realize the hollowness of this claim. Can a common person withstand the rigors of the Indian judicial trail? Or is it meant for the moneyed and resourceful? One criminal case against you can debar you from a government job and dozens against you are fine, if you are a law maker. What an equality before law?

Sanjay Sahay

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