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 Democracy
 
National Autocratic Council
The Indian Express, India Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bibek Debroy
No one seems to have yet read the Chhattisgarh trial court’s order on Binayak Sen. Calling the judge names serves no purpose. None of those who have shot their mouths off seem to have questioned the judge’s ascertaining of the facts. There is a curious tendency among all such high-decibel individuals who don’t quite believe in the law of the land, or democracy, or the Constitution, writes Bibek debroy in The Indian Express.

Why do people shoot their mouths off? No one seems to have yet read the Chhattisgarh trial court’s order on Binayak Sen. At best, they are reacting to media reports and the operative part of the order.

...

Commitment to development work doesn’t mean one is incapable of committing a “crime”. Second, “crime” is defined by the law of the land. In this particular case, it happens to be Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. A judge’s role, especially at the trial court level, is limited. He/she assesses facts of the case and no more. If we have a problem with legislation, that needs to be sorted out and changed elsewhere, such as through legislative bodies. Calling the judge names serves no purpose. None of those who have shot their mouths off seem to have questioned the judge’s ascertaining of the facts. Third, there is a curious tendency among all such high-decibel individuals.

They don’t quite believe in the law of the land, or democracy, or the Constitution.

They know what is right. Therefore, if a legal decision suits them, then all is fine. But if a legal decision runs counter to what they wish, then it will be questioned, because they know the decision is wrong. So phrases like “disgrace to democracy” and “kangaroo trial” will be bandied around. The warts and blemishes in the legal system are known, but those will be selectively invoked. Fourth, if the judge has erred, there is an appellate process. Believing in that democratic process, rather than high-decibel responses in the media should be the answer. In fact, that is more akin to a kangaroo trial.

Fifth, at best, some questions can be raised about the quantum of punishment, life imprisonment, versus a reduced sentence. There too, a judge has latitude of discretion.

...

However, they profess by democracy and therefore, are better advised to restrain their tongues and abide by Constitutional processes.

This article was published in the The Indian Express on Sunday, December 26, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author : Mr Debroy is a noted economist, based in New Delhi.
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