- How often have we heard about some of the common adages like justice delayed is justice denied, innocent till proven guilty, as well as bail, and not jail bandied about by legal luminaries concerning litigations. Of course, the judicial system in our country is too cumbersome taking a circuitous route to come to its logical conclusion is too well known. Moreover, trivial as well as graver issues leading to undertrials languishing in jails for want of speedy delivery of justice are also well documented. On its part, no less than the Supreme Court has laid out well-defined guidelines for ushering in desperately needed police reforms that would otherwise have helped the situation to a great extent.
- Unfortunately, the matter has hardly gained any worthwhile traction over the years. It’s a given fact that the unholy nexus between political masters-bureaucracy has had a huge impact on stalling the desired police reforms. An obvious political unwillingness to push ahead with the police reforms has put paid to those efforts despite the push from the SC. The law enforcement agencies to are grappling with poor skillsets, lack of technology-driven contemporary training, inadequate modern-day policing techniques, general unwillingness to embrace the evolving crime redressal mechanisms, and utter lack of consideration toward the general public has been the bane in extending relief to common citizens.
- The resultant outcome is millions of undertrials still languishing in jails in the most inhuman atmosphere waiting for elusive relief someday. And there is yet another angle to explore how the law enforcement agencies target celebrities and renowned personalities under the guise of upholding the law of the land. As you are aware, the entire country was intrigued by the sensational drug case involving the son of Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan last October. Now, the Narcotics Control Bureau’s admission in its charge sheet in the Aryan Khan drugs raid on a luxury cruise that no drugs were found on the individual raises more questions about the competency of the agency than answers expected from them.
- Note that the star son was held in custody for nearly four weeks and now comes the prompt admission leading to lots of unanswered questions. Going back will help in taking note of two key issues surrounding the case. Recollect how WhatsApp conversations of Aryan with an actress were leaked to the media to maliciously suggest that he was a drug trafficker. The second aspect was the approach of the courts. On both counts, the intent was clear i.e., reputational damage and molding public opinion against Aryan. This was utterly unconstitutional as it was a violation of the right to be deemed innocent before guilt is proven, the right to a fair trial, the right to reputation, and the right to privacy.
- NCB’s candid admission now that Aryan wasn’t found with drugs was evident even then but was denied bail twice before the Bombay high court called the bluff. Many cases don’t require custody and suspects can be questioned without the harsh optics of arresting them. Hopefully, law enforcement agencies will learn a lesson to not jump the gun on mere suspicion placing innocents under tremendous duress. Did someone mention the police reforms? Needless to mention, the wait continues on this front.