Your honour, don't jail me for contempt. But I have a prayer.

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 09:06
Swati Chaturvedi

I am worried that as I write this, I may offend our mighty courts and judges and be put in jail or be fined crores of rupees that I cannot afford.
But, I think it is high time we talked about the God awful mess our legal system has become. While I genuinely believe that today's Supreme Court is a beacon of light, a cleansing beam of sunlight on a dark corrupt and rancid system, the delays across the entire judicial system are scary.
While delighting in the fact that the powerful corrupt are brought to heel and sent to jail, have we stopped to wonder about Justice Krishna Iyer's invaluable dictum: "Bail is the norm, jail is the exception". Give exemplary punishment to Kanimozi, A Raja and all the 2G spectrum accused and to Suresh Kalmadi and company accused in the CWG scam. But, remember the operative word is accused not convicted.

At some level all of us have rationalised that because the system is rotten, the case will take years to come to trial and conclusion; this is the only real punishment these VIP wrongdoers will get. But, is it really helping in building the institutions that we want as a great country? Does it follow the spirit of the Constitution?

Today it is Kanimozi who has been denied bail, but there are lakhs of under trials languishing across the country often in jail for years for seemingly trivial offences.

Is this the legal system we want?

In some cases the back log is so much that it might take 300 years to bring the case to trial and conclusion.

I want the Supreme Court that I have so much faith in to turn some of that light inwards and change the system. Appoint more judges. End judicial corruption by severe punishment. Make trials time bound.

These are not the sexy solutions favoured by the current mood in the country which is grappling with an inchoate rage to punish the political class which has looted the nation with some Annagiri.
But, eventually the systemic overhaul of a sick legal system will be far more of a deterrent to all classes of criminals including the VIP political looters.

First Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 09:06

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