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Justice - Exclusive to some

Justice is one of the most important components for the functioning of a democratic polity. When India gained independence and declared itself as a 'Republic', the foremost prerequisite was that all citizens will be treated fairly and justice will be delivered on terms of equanimity. Sixty years into independence and we have not lived upto the promise of justice. In fact, justice is exclusive to some. It is only for the elite class and this form of justice is in reality unjust. What makes me talk about this all of a sudden is that since many days I have been reading that a top political leader and the head of a state is being called for investigations in a riot case. But apart from this there has been no further progress. Also, we can not consider only this case in isolation. There have been instances of disregard to law by our top leaders and political honchos in the past too. But very few of them have been booked for their crime.

It is ironical that when it comes to delivering justice, we are still talking about caste, religion, class etc when the freedom fighters of the era had a vision to deliver justice irrespective of these considerations. There are cases pending in the judiciary for God knows how long and sometimes we lose hope that these will ever be solved. If we take instances of financial scams, communal riots and recall such major incidences that have rocked the country, not one of these cases in court has been resolved. More so because it involves big names.

The government has done well to introduce a judicial system that reaches the grass root level by establishing 'Lok Adalats' and 'Fast Track Courts'. But merely introducing a system can never help unless people are empowered to take it up and build it further. The judicial system will remain weak until the civil society has the courage to reform it, unless the press has the power to expose the loopholes in it.

My question is are we confident of our judicial system? Are we fearless? Are we sure justice will be delivered? Do we have inhibitions in approaching the nearest police station or going to the court if the need arises? Are we assured of transparency and accountability? Are we certain that the officials in the system are capable enough to address the queries of the common citizen? Does the system favour the wronged, the guilty? Is the system sensitive enough? NO! If the answer is no then we are still lagging behind because our judicial system is not in itself strong enough. It still takes a "Priyadarshini Matoo, Jessica Lal, Ruchika Girhotra' to wake up from slumber to realize that when people in power commit a crime, it can take years to book them to justice. We still need the media to sensitize people so that they can come out and organize candle marches to protest for an issue. There is no guarantee that somewhere an innocent is not being hanged to death, no guarantee of availing justice without a bribe and no guarantee that a dreaded terrorist who just killed innumerable people will be punished for his heinous deed. Because Justice has already been denied to the millions of citizens of this country even after 6 decades of independence.

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