"Justice Delayed is Justice Denied". How often all of us would have read & heard this clitch! In spite of the notoriously world-famous "speed" of Indian Legal System, where a judgment, even in a criminal case, reaches finality in Indian courts in a decade or more, nobody seems to be interested in doing anything about correcting or reforming the system in order to speed up the time it takes to deliver judgments in India. Over and above this morass, if news like this comes out in the media, it is bound to shake the confidence of the Indian public in the courts and judicial process. That, then, will be the invitation for chaos & Pakistanisation of India's democracy.
Take the case of Satyam Computer's Ramalinga Raju's accounting scandal. The scandal burst open in public on 7th January, 2009, and in the six months since then, the CBI, which was handed the case well after 2 or 3 months, has only recently filed a voluminous charge sheet & so far arrested about a dozen people in the case. But, the hearing in the case is yet to start as the Government of India is yet to get the final report on the scam from its SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office), which is expected to deliver the same only by mid-July. Only after that will the CBI be in a position to pursue the case vigorously in courts. Simultaneously CBI has also to oppose the bail pleas of the accused which are being filed at several courts (lower, higher, etc.) in order to keep them in judicial custody. When the preliminary hearing itself has not yet started at the court in the case, it is anybody's guess how long it will take for the case to reach a finality at the lower court to enable it to deliver its verdict. Then comes the appeals procedure for the guilty at the High Court & then in the Supreme Court, whose decision will be final. MIND YOU, IN THIS CASE, THE GENERAL PERCEPTION/BELIEF IS THAT THE GOVT. HAS BEEN PROCEEDING FAST LEGALLY.
Compare this Satyam case & its legal aftermath in India, with what is happening iN the United States in a similar economic offence which has also surfaced around the same time as Satyam's & how their legal system has been functioning. In December, 2008 (about a month before Satyam saga broke out), Bernie Madoff, who was running an Investment Fund (something similar to our desi Chit Funds) successfully for more than two decades by consistently paying high dividends to all his investors, had to publicly confess that he was only "cheating" his investors by collecting funds from new investors to pay high dividends to existing investors or to pay for redemption of existing investments for the last two decades or more. Due to the collapse of the financial sector in US last year, when no new investor came out with investing options to Madoff, while the old investors wanted to redeem their investments, Madoff could no more continue with his tricks & had to call his bluff in the open. Madoff, like our Rajus, also has/had connections in high places and he also served in a highly respected US Government Financial Institution at the highest level, which also helped his image as a trustworthy individual, which, it now transpires that he had, all along, been misusing.
Immediately after the scam broke out, the US Justice Department (counterparts of our own Law Ministry) moved swiftly and conducted a special investigation into the whole affair & arrested Madoff. They also filed a criminal case aginst him within days and the verdict in that case has been delivered on 29th June, 2009, in about 6 months of the scandal surfacing in the open. The judge has sentenced Madoff for 150 years in jail. Judgment in 6 months & for 150 years jail term. THAT IS CALLED JUST & SPEEDY LEGAL DELIVERY SYSTEM. We should not only look at the speed of the judgment but also the length of the sentence - 150 years in jail. Can any of us recall any criminal in India having been sentenced like that by any court in the last 60 years since our Independence? The severe the punishment, the chances of offences being repeated are slim. The Americans seem to know this & are practicing. We, the Indians, also know this but avoid practicing the same.
Thus, in contrast to US, what we have in India is, even a Supreme Court indicted & death-sentenced terrorist mastermind being let aloof to live peacefully(!) in prison in order to shower (Congress Party's) Presidential Mercy on him.
Or, an active terrorist who participated in the Mumbai Terror Seize, being given Head of State deference in his treatment by the Govt. while taking legal action against him so that the ruling party is not being seen to be acting against the "minority interests", at any cost.
Or, a Union Minister, who has been suspected culpable in many murders previously but famously got acquitted (now everyone knows how) by courts, who now threatens a sitting Judge of his State's High Court, which has a bench in his "pet" city, which is full of his supporters, who have shown their "capability" recently when a newspaper published a survey.
We Indians generally take pride in the fact that we are a (relatively) democratically-matured citizenry as compared to Pakistanis as we are able to stick to democracy since our Independence but Pakistan could not. Though Pakistan has been moving between devil (military dictatorship) and deep sea (dummy democracy full of chaos), they proved to the whole world that, when their Supreme Court's Chief Justice was unjustly ordered to be removed by their dictator-President, the whole country, not only the lawyers, rallied behind him and ultimately mounted so much pressure that their President had to resign to pave the way for elections in the country.
I think, we Indians should learn a lesson or two from our neighbours, in defending our legal system from being encroached by these unscrupulous politicians. If we keep silence now thinking it does not concern us as an individual, a day will come when we all will wake up to find that we are in Pakistan - Yes, India will be ruled by a Dictator, who will be calling the shots to the military, judiciary, media & to any dissenting voice, if at all there is any left by then.
Better to WAKE UP NOW than to WAKE UP LATER IN A PAKISTANISED INDIA.