Joined: 24 September 2007
Joined: 18 January 2006
I think consistent, effective and fair justice is the major problem in India. The problem is that the choice between retribution and reform is inconsistently applied. Too many high profile cases are not seen as a matter of justice, but a matter of political games. Justice becomes secondary to how a politician can use the case as a platform.
The issue of human rights also is illogically and inconsistently applied. A desperately poor person who broke into a house or robbed a bank at gunpoint maybe a candidate for reform because they may not actually have a criminal mentality but act so because of lack of education and resources. On the other hand a gruesome rapist or a terrorist does not deserve sympathy or reform because they are mentally hardened to think criminally. Unfortunately, most justice systems seem to be spending too much money on keeping the worst bad guys safe while the teenage drug dealer whose life could have been saved is ignored and let to become worse.
Victims are important, but I think long term societal impact should be the most primary concern. Someone who has been robbed or cheated may feel retributive and not want the system to act reformative, but reformation maybe good for society in the long run. But there are other cases like serial killers or terrorists where the societal impact is congruent with the victims – retribution is the only way to make society safer as well as give closure to victims.
Joined: 24 September 2007
A judge in India has sentenced eight men to death and 20 others to life imprisonment for three so-called honour killings that took place in 1991.
The men were found guilty of murdering a Dalit boy and a girl from a higher caste who had eloped together, as well as the boy's cousin.
All three were set alight and hanged, the court in Uttar Pradesh state heard.
A BBC correspondent says the sentences are some of the most severe ever recorded in a such a case.
Earlier this year India's Supreme Court ordered states to stamp out "honour killings, saying people found guilty of such crimes should face execution. Convictions in such cases often carry life sentences.
The death penalty is awarded only very rarely in India - when executions are authorised they can be delayed for years on appeal.Genitals burned
Age-old notions of tradition and family honour are still deeply entrenched in many parts of Indian society.
According to one recent study, hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying outside their caste or against their families' wishes.
Often "honour" crimes are endorsed, or even encouraged, by village-based caste councils or panchayats.
The court in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh heard how Vijander, a Dalit boy, had eloped with his girlfriend, Roshni. She was a member of the higher-caste Jaat community and from the same village, Mehrana, near the border with Haryana state.
The couple returned to Mehrana a few days later thinking anger would have subsided, the BBC's Ram Dutt Tripathi in Lucknow reports.
But village elders decreed they be killed, along with Vijander's cousin Ram Kishan, who had helped them elope.
The killings took place on 22 March 1991 and were brutal - the court heard how the genitals of the deceased were burned before they were hanged from a tree.
The case came to light because the parents of the boys lodged a case against the council for ordering the killings, our correspondent says.
Joined: 21 February 2008
Whether retributive or reformative , as far as the victim is concerned there can hardly ever be justice.
How does one do justice to one who has had his near and dear one killed (either intentionally or accidentally)? Are we in anyway able to compensate for the lost life, the sorrow felt by the family or even the financial loss that may be caused by the death of that person? I dont think so.
In a case of a person who has lost his reputation by being wrongly implicated in a case , what can R or R justice do to restore the mental peace, opportunities and the lost years till his innocence was proved?
There would be many such cases where the damage done is irreparable. At the most the victims may derive some temporary satisfaction that the perpetrator has been convicted and punished. That too could take decades in India, if at all! For society, the most it can do is learn a lesson and try to prevent a recurrence. Reformative or retributive punishment (I wouldnt like to use the term justice) assumes secondary place; primary aim must be to find and implement ways to prevent a similar crime or mishap from recurring.
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