In the backdrop of the Hyderabad rape-murder incident and gunning down of the four accused in an alleged encounter, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on Saturday said justice can never be instant and loses its character when it becomes revenge.
At the same time, he admitted that the recent events in the country have sparked off an old debate with new vigour, where there is no doubt that the criminal justice system must reconsider its position and attitude towards the time it takes to dispose of a case.
“But I don’t think justice can ever be or ought to be instant, and justice must never ever take the form of revenge. I believe justice loses its character of justice if it becomes revenge,” the CJI said during the inauguration of a new building of the Rajasthan High Court here.
The CJI’s remarks came a day after the police claimed that all the four accused in the rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad were shot dead in “retaliatory” firing by the cops when two of the accused opened fire at them after snatching their weapons and tried to escape from the site where they had been taken for a reconstruction of events as part of the investigation.
Addressing the event here, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the CJI and other senior judges to ensure that there is a mechanism to monitor quick disposal of rape cases, saying that the women of the country are under pain and distress and crying for justice.
The Chief Justice of India, who spoke after the minister, stressed that as an institution, the judiciary must remain committed to making justice accessible to people by strengthening the existing avenues and evolving newer means to achieve an affordable, quick and satisfactory settlement of disputes.
“At the same time, we must be aware of the changes and perception about the judiciary,” Justice Bobde said.
He said there is a need in the judiciary to invoke self-correcting measures but whether or not they should be publicised is a matter of debate.
Meanwhile, a seven-member NHRC team on Saturday visited the site were the men arrested on charge of gangrape-murder of the veterinarian were killed in an alleged encounter, while Telangana police said that the four accused have been booked for “attacking” the cops who had accompanied them.
Amid a raging debate on the police action, the widow of one of the accused squatted on a road along with some others at her village in Narayanpet district, alleging that injustice has been done to her.
“How many are there in jail for having made mistakes… They should also be shot dead… We will not bury the bodies till then,” said Renuka, the pregnant wife of Chennakeshavulu who was killed by the police in the alleged encounter on Friday.
The team from the National Human Rights Commission visited Chattanpalli village, about 50 km from here, where the alleged encounter took place. A short distance away the victim’s charred body was found after she was allegedly gangraped, smothered and set afire on the night of November 27.
Officials said the team examined the bodies of the accused kept at government hospital at Mahabubnagar after the postmortem was conducted and videographed.
The apex human rights body in the country had taken cognisance of the encounter killings, saying it was a matter of concern and needed to be investigated carefully.
The Telangana High Court had on Friday asked the state government to preserve the bodies of four accused till 08 pm on December 9 after a representation received in the office of the Chief Justice, requesting judicial intervention into the incident, alleging it was an extrajudicial killing.
The High Court had also directed that the video of the postmortem be handed over to the Registrar General of the High Court.
Even as the NHRC started its fact-finding probe, police said they registered a case on Friday against the four accused in the rape-murder case under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it) and relevant sections of the Indian Arms Act.
Based on a complaint filed by the in-charge of police team that accompanied the four accused, the FIR was registered, a senior police official told PTI.
For the second day, groups of people publicly raised slogans here hailing police and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The father of the victim said the accused, who behaved in a way worse than demons with his daughter, deserved to be punished the way police acted.
He again thanked police and the chief minister for the police action.
Congress legislature party leader M Bhatti Vikramarka led a delegation of party leaders to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Saturday and complained about the police allegedly not accepting the complaint from the victim’s family members when she went missing, citing jurisdiction.