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Monday, December 9, 2013

Parole ... should popularity be allowed to override punishment

Our legal system is lenient and provides that no innocent should be punished.. many a times people are acquitted for want of evidence… but when someone is sentenced to punishment – it is after due process of law. Parole is a legal provisio – a provisional release of a prisoner on stipulated conditions mostly on humanitarian considerations…   and a ‘parole’ is making group of people agitate as they feel that it is VIP treatment and not punishment that one is undergoing….. they demand that he should be treated at par with prisoners and no rules should be flouted. 

People cannot be faulted for thinking that Cinema is only entertainment but one is unable to understand why there is so much clamour on a sentence…… which every newspaper reported mildly, talked of pardon, and top places came rushing to his defence….   My father taught me that one should never exploit or enjoy the difficulty of others….and so parole also should not be questioned generally… still !!  - even for those of us not closely following the Mumbai blasts and the conviction of a person for illegal possession of an assault weapon, an AK-56 rifle, upheld by the Supreme Court on the grounds that weapon was part of a larger consignment that was to be  used to carry out the deadliest terrorist attacks on that country's financial capital. The convict had also met, hugged and had phone conversations with the masterminds of this terror conspiracy -  yet  powerful political and societal lobby sympathized with, arguing that his punishment was too severe.

On 21 March 2013, Supreme Court of India convicted Sunjay Dutt in the illegal possession of arms relating to the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment. Earlier he had been sentenced to 6 years imprisonment by a TADA court. From that time, prominent time in media  was devoted to discussions  on the pardon to Dutt and there was news that the Governor of Maharashtra set to consult on pardon – voices of many top politicians also spoke on the favour…. One of the outrageous reasons seeking pardon  was that he through film revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. The  Kalashnikov was not a toy and was not bought in any mall but  came through underworld gangs and was linked to the consignment of explosives used to perpetrate the Mumbai serial blasts, though Dutt may not have known that !! yet Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh supported the demand to pardon.  The support for Dutt coming from Congress surprised many as the Bollywood star had campaigned for Samajwadi Party in the assembly.  Katju was another vociferous supporter of pardon.

One should never peep into other private life… Dutt is also entitled to his… perhaps if that serves as the reason for some amnesty or for tweaking rules. Now comes the news that while RPI opposed the parole outright as favourite treatment, Opposition parties in Maharashtra have accused the State government of preferential treatment in granting a one-month parole to Bollywood actor. The actor was granted parole on the grounds that his wife Maanyata was unwell and needed to undergo surgery. This is the second time in three months that the actor — who is the brother of Congress MP Priya Dutt — has been granted leave from the Yerawada jail. In October, he got a month’s leave on grounds of ill health.

Corruption is not  only about breaking the rules:  it is also about rejecting the human side, embracing animal side ~ the other side is also preferential treatment for somebody purely because he is famous or has more supporters in high places.  Riots occur, commoners suffer, many are killed but despite enquiry commissions, people walk away free.  Rapes take place but rapists are released on technicalities.  The rage of the common man is understandable yet people like Anna protesting on Gandhian way are also arrested sometimes.  In Mahabaratha, in the kingdom of Duryodhana, Bhismas and Dronas  never expressed outrage when things went wrong…..  complex laws can be read in myriad ways by brilliant lawyers ~ and only when even they are beaten people are condemned to prisons…. .in the Jail, those inside are criminals sent for punishment by Courts…… there are small fishes who undergo the rigour while the high and mighty seemingly get the privileged treatment !   

People are entitled to their opinion but still…  popularity or claim to fame should seldom override punishment !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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