We must not have street trial: Khurshid on gang-rape protests

Stressing need to ensure speedy trial in cases of rape and terrorism, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said there cannot be street trials of perpetrators as its against Constitution.

New Delhi: Stressing the need for better provisions to ensure speedy trial in cases of rape and terrorism, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said there cannot be street trials of perpetrators as it is against the basic principles of Constitution.
Khurshid`s remarks came after a wave of protests that have rocked the country, especially the national capital following a horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student last Sunday, with many demanding death penalty for such crimes.

"No matter how strongly you feel for what somebody has done, just condemn that person in street trials and execute that person then and this is not done," said Khurshid while addressing an award ceremony here.

"We cannot, we should not and we must not have street trials. And that statement also applies to media you cannot have street trials you can’t have media street trails. Let us all apply our minds to do something that is effective that is immediate, something that will reassure public minds and emotions," he told reporters on the sidelines of an award function here.

He said while he was coming for the function, he saw a silent march and they were there to register their deepest concerns about law and order and what happened to the young girl, who is fighting for her life.

"Now I cannot tell you how much one feels for every such individual. I think that you would be inhuman if you could not feel for such individual. But my training, our understanding of the Indian Constitution and rule of law of governance tells us that you don`t have street trials," he said.

In recent times, he said, one has seen that countries going through revolutionary process where it has been done "where people have been executed in front public because they have violated some fundamental belief, which people strongly support.

"We still put them through process. I know that people ask several questions about why you spend so much money to retain and keep in comfort a terrorist because that is our system. Even Mahatma Gandhi`s murderers were put through a trial," Khurshid said.

Khurshid expressed worry over the recent trend of "questioning the basic fundamentals" of Constitution.

"The worry today is that fundamentals that we though our constitutional makers had settled are suddenly being questioned by series of group of people in new generation. Sometimes we know that we have to wait for the passions to pass.

"That is reason why trials are shifted to some other place from the place of incident because public passions must not influence the minds of a judge who should be objectively, fairly and without fear able to decide what he has to do," he said.

Khurshid, however, said the need for better provisions for quicker justice in such cases is a must.

The minister, however, assured that his colleagues in the government are looking into the situation.

"Government is monitoring the situation with sincerity and steps are being taken to tackle the situation in long run. Those steps if implemented with approval from all as soon as possible with those who are agitated by the incident," said Khurshid.


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