Who is the Criminal?
In our country, many myths are constructed around judiciary system. When Political structures are corrupt, people are looking at judiciary as a last hope to protect democracy. Judges are viewed beyond power structures. Another view is that Judges are uncorrupt, impartial and always stands for justice. Judgments of courts are ultimate. Any criticism against judicial decisions is viewed as contempt of court.
Interestingly common man is always afraid of courts. He wants settle any issue without approaching courts. He is not reliable on the logic of courts. He knows that courts prolongs even for small issue, which can be settled casually. Approaching courts is last resort.
Today almost all our news channels are filled with reporting of judicial inquiries of political class. Of course, Channels also selectively and systematically feed the information in this regard since they too are products of this corrupt money. It is evident that crores of public money has been swindling. The political regimes of Rajasekshar Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu are under public scan. In both the regimes, there is an overflow of global capital and large scale World Bank loans. It is amusing to watch the competition among politicians in committing corruption. Due to this competition, more misappropriation of public money came to limelight. Why do we fail to take the cognizance of these as serious crimes in comparison with petty criminal cases?
White collar crimes are mostly financial in nature. There are no serious laws to check these crimes. Obviously the rich class escapes from their crimes and found various ways to escape. If any law exists, it is an effective. Public also not bothered about these financial frauds. They believe that it is a common phenomenon. History reveals nobody convicted. Sukharam issue is symbolic and rarest of rare. Even for that courts feel embraced to honour a punishment to former central minister.
In financial frauds, courts play a game in the name of prolonged trails and remands. They believe that public memory is short and wait till that moment. Public are no more interested to listen the old story. They are in search of some more sensational and breaking news. There ends the story of financial fraud both in media and courts. In this mean time political settlement takes place. We should not forget that this money is responsible for all kinds of crimes in our society. In simple terms, our political structure is standing on this finance capital. It reflects in our value systems too.
Our Judiciary is more active on criminal issues. Criminal laws are very powerful. It believes that we have to protect from criminals. Special packages came with new names such as TADA, POTA, and Goonda Act. When society is more and more criminalizing, then we legitimize forcefully these criminal laws. But the point is who is identified and certified as criminal by court in all these six decades of independent India. The records are clear and the public (upper caste hindu middle class) have the same mindset. Actual facts are not under considerations. Social conditions and the Social process are not accountable in the court of law. The people/society behind the convicted criminals are nowhere comes into picture either in legal and public frames. It is evident that the criminals convicted in our country are mostly belongs to lower strata of our society. The dominant social groups and judges will always consider these groups as potential criminals. They even brand these communities as criminals, as in continuation with notified criminal tribes declared by British. Here not the particular individual who convicted is considered as criminal but impose on whole community, though they are no way related to concerned crime.
What kinds of crimes these so called ‘criminals’ from lower strata committed? They are convicted on petty crimes such as pick pocketing and small thefts. They usually convicted on the charge of rowdy sheeted. Who are beneficiary of these ‘rowdies’? It is known fact that these rowdies are instrumental for the cause of ‘Big people’ and ‘gentle men’.
Our judiciary is active on criminal cases in comparison with financial frauds. The reason is obvious. In cases of dalits and poor people courts are awarding maximum punishment without having any second thought or self introspection. But in case rich/upper caste/political class the punishment is minimal and most of the times misquotes/misinterpret the laws.
This is the time to review the judicial activism in our country. It is possible only through the check up on judiciary from the politicized public. Why there are no historic judgments on caste violence? The judgments and the duration of trails on cases of caste massacres such as kararmchedu, chunduru, kairlanji, Melavalupu are testimony for judicial attitude towards dalits. There is serious effort from dalit groups to even register cases against culprits. We may find deliberate liquidation of cases by police at the level of filing FIRs. Most of the cases are prolonged for more than one and half decade. Our judiciary tests the dalit solidarity till it disorganizes and has no strength to withstand. Any how, justice delayed is justice denied. Most of the culprits are acquitted on technical grounds or benefit of doubt.
We have to understand that Judges/judiciary locates in society. They too have caste. They too have their own politics. They are not mere spectators to the cases. Their subjective positions will definitely reflect in their judgments. The power structures will definitely influence judiciary. Ultimately it confines to ruling classes. By reflecting on the issues the concerned public can check this kind of judicial activism to an extent. We have to initiate public debate and a critical review of each judgment. It can not be considered as a contempt of court. The critical concerns will ultimately strengthen our democracy. For this we have to cultivate social morality from alternative cultural traditions.
In a caste and class ridden society, the victims of punishment are mostly happened to be poor/ dalits. There is a need to redefine justice as Critical Race Theorists intervened in the issues of race in America. The idea of social justice will come to rescue the victims of punishment/ victims of our judiciary. Rather looking for appropriate section for concerned punishment, our judiciary has to educate on the social conditions, and social process that motivate the lower strata towards crime.
Time has come to expose the nexus between ruling class-police- judiciary and media. We have to build up a pressure that financial crimes are most serious crimes than generally defined criminal crimes. We have to build our judiciary on strong ethical foundations for democracy to with stand.
Ultimately, who is the Criminal?
Corrupt politician swallowed crores of rupees of public money or Pick Pocketer tempted for hundred rupees!