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Humane SC Judgment Follows the Principle of Natural Justice: Soli J Sorabjee

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Newindianexpress.com on 31st May, 2015

Humane SC Judgment Follows the Principle of Natural Justice - The New Indian Express


In our constitutional jurisprudence, neither a prisoner who is un-convicted nor a person who is convicted is denuded of basic human rights. Keeping this principle in mind, a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices A K Sikri and U R Lalit reaffirmed that condemned prisoners have a right to dignity. Consequently, “execution of death sentence cannot be carried out in an arbitrary, hurried and secret manner without allowing convicts to exhaust all legal remedies and to meet family members”. The court quashed the execution warrants of a young woman and her lover convicted for killing seven members of her family. It observed that “death warrant was signed by the sessions judge in haste without waiting for the convict to exhaust all legal remedies”. The court further pointed out that the condemned prisoners could file a review petition before the Supreme Court and can also seek mercy from the President or the Governor. It ruled that principles of natural justice must be followed and sufficient notice should be given to the convict before the issuance of death warrant to enable him/her to pursue legal remedies and to have a final meeting with family members, and in case where a convict is not in a position to get legal assistance, legal aid must be provided. That is the essence of the judgment. To some, this commendable Supreme Court judgment appears to be soft on convicts and to accord them wide indulgence. This criticism overlooks that the court was dealing with human life. And remember that one test of belief in principles is that you apply them in cases with which you have the least sympathy.

The Strange World of Politics: Strange events happen in the world of politics. Cuba, which at one time was regarded by the US as the epicentre of communism and source of terrorism, is now out of its terror list. There are clear signs of cordial relations developing between the two countries. It is said that Pope Francis was in a way instrumental in effecting rapprochement between the US and Cuba. This would have been previously unimaginable in view of the deep-seated opposition of the Catholic Church to the authoritarian Cuban regime. Nearer home, we have the spectacle of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh having a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi which reportedly was marked with cordiality. To my mind, this is a welcome development which should be the healthy norm of democracy. An editorial (Saturday, May 30) in a national daily rightly states that “once the heat and hostilities of an election end, governance should be a cooperative enterprise, with the incumbent seeking advice or information from the one he succeeds”. Prime Minister Vajpayee maintained cordial relations with Congress leaders. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley keeps in touch with his predecessor, P Chidambaram, on economic matters. This healthy practice should be encouraged. If both the former and the present Prime Ministers discussed issues mainly relating to the economy, then Modi should be commended for reaching out to his predecessor in office, who is a renowned economist. The quip of Rahul Gandhi that Singh during the meeting gave lessons in economics to PM Modi was a childish jibe, betraying immaturity in the future President of the Congress party from whom one expects sense and substance.


Disquieting Trends in Government: There are some disquieting features in the running of the present government. For example, unfilled vacancies in important posts like the Chief Commissioner under Right to Information Act and posts of two members of the Competition Tribunal, where at present former Supreme Court Judge L M Singhvi is the sole member. There is no apparent reason why these vacancies which are known in advance are not filled up in time.

But what is most distressing is that in this day and age of vibrant shining democracy that India professes to be, nearly 2,000 of our citizens have died because of the heat wave across the country. Surely, the top most priority should be to provide shelters to these marginalised groups and equip them with necessary tools to prevent their death from India shining too hot for them.

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The Controller of the modern Islamic terrorism is Al Quaida. USA is father of this terrorism. By knowing the history behind the birth of Al Quaida, we can come to know why and how the Government of USA is responsible for its creation.

From the seventies in the last century the Government of America had left no stones unturned to uproot the Russian rule in Afghatistan. The ‘democratic government’ of Afghanistan was totally dependent on the Russian army. And the strongly fundamentalist Muslim clan there was the ‘Taliban’. The two neighboring countries of Afghanistan were Russia on one hand and Pakistan, a friend nation of America on the other. So the location of Afghanistan was strategically important to America. Hence the need for political transition in Afghanistan was important for faraway USA.

The Government of America started helping the Taliban group in various ways. – In 1985 a regular office was opened in Rawalpindi of Pakistan with specialists from the CIA and Pentagon. The rugged Taliban fundamentalists were trained in sophisticated modern warfar and thus......


In a country of 125 crores population how it is possible for government without ample money to provide facilities to victimized people from natural calamities e.g. heat wave?


A leadership of ruling government is boasting only and during campaign of election so many promises were given to people but not a single promise is full filled by the government.

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