Crimes, Encounters and Justice

Dr. Pradeep Kumar Singh
In modern times, the news is often full of criminal incidents. Indecency, piracy-theft-robbery, cheating, blackmailing, kidnapping, extortion, illegal possession, sexual harassment of women, murder, rioting, etc. constitute a long series of crimes. Some crimes are committed by unorganized criminals, where often they do not get social protection, so it is easier to identify and take legal action against them. But the roots of organized crimes go far and wide. Here, getting control over the criminals is very challenging as they generally enjoy protection by powerful people in society. It becomes even more tragic when some criminals secure political power to become a public representative to carve out the destiny of the country.
Everyone would be remembering the tragic news of the rape and murder of the lady veterinarydoctor near Hyderabad in November-2019. Only the afflicted family can experience this anguish. Telangana police arrested four accused in the case on 29-November. It is said that the four accused died on the spot in the police encounter between 3 and 6 am on December 6, during the remand.
After this incident a wave of happiness spread all over the country. The locals warmly greeted the police. Children were also seen dancing with joy in schools in presence of media cameras. It was propagated as if all the criminals from the country were eliminated. It is said that due to the slow pace of the justice delivery system, the people started giving importance to the disposal of cases outside the judicial system. In general, the common people are naive, and follow the media’s direction. But some intellectuals and celebrities also lose seriousness. Locals said “the police have delivered the right justice”. A senior leader said “the police should be given medal”. A woman MP said “better late than never”. A woman celebrity said “police has set a precedent”. Definitely, in democracy, it is for the judiciary to deliver the justice, not the police. Also, the police had shot in self-defense during the alleged encounter, so all these statements seem insignificant.
Some intellectuals also raised legitimate questions on this incident, which have been discussed in media. There is amillion-dollar question “Is an accused arrested by police in unorganized crimes definitely a criminal?” Hundreds of cases have been observed where the police could not prove the crime against the accused in the court. Even in some cases, the court has reprimanded the policeand ordered the state government to pay compensation worth lakhs of rupees,to the innocent accused.
The case of kidnapping, gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl came to light on 10-January 2018 in Kathua, Jammu. The police (Special Investigation Team) in the case arrested Vishal Jangotra,a local resident and student of Akanksha College Muzaffarnagar, affiliated to C.C.S. University, Meerut, holding him accused of involvement in the crime. Vishal Jangotra and his friends were tortured severely forcing them to confess the crime. But on 10-June, 2019, the court pronounced the accused Vishal Jangotra innocent, citing evidence provided by the Zee News. Definitely, had the police killed Vishal Jangotra in a fake encounter, it would have been a perversion.
The tragic assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1948is well known.The great freedom fighter, Veer Vinayak Domodar Savarkar, was arrested along with other accused,on the charges of involvement in the conspiracy. But the charges could not be proved in the court for want of evidence. Thus, he was acquitted in February 1949. Definitely,had the police killed Veer Savarkar in a fake encounter, it would have been a perversion.
Organized crimes have a notorious place in the criminal world. Here, criminals often have deep connections with powerful people in society belonging to administration and political parties. This gives rise to criminalizationof politics. Sometimes the criminals themselves reach the legislature, making use of muscle power, money power and political support. There is no any effective constitutional mechanism to keep the criminals away from the law-making legislative bodies, or any other office of public representative. Normally they enjoy effective control over the local administration.In general, the local police feel compelled to turn the eyesaway from their unlawful activities. The police (equipped with administrative power) is a class of government employees, can dedicatedly search for animals on the verbal orders of their political masters.On the direction of political masters, or in absence of their undue interference, they can also contribute for enforcement of law and maintain the order. Due to slowpace of delivery of justice, thecriminals get opportunity to erase evidence and manipulate the witnesses. Sometimes the witnesses are eliminated, or they die in suspicious circumstances. All this is often discussed in the media. Overall, criminals often survive the law, and the tree of crimes continues to grow.
Recently on 10-July,a notorious gangster Vikas Dubey was killed in an alleged police encounter in Kanpur (UP). He was free on bail, despite being accused in more than 60 criminal cases during his 30-year criminal career. He was also accused of killing eight police personnel at his residence on 2-July. Some political parties justified the police action, but this time none praised the police. Some political parties protested and demanded a high-level inquiry into the police encounter, and a few intellectuals approached the Supreme Court to investigate the incident. This topic has been discussed in detail in media.
The death of Vikas Dubey brought relief from terror in the area, but very few people expressed happiness. Also, none in society warmly greeted the police. In fact, the people are familiar with the power of organized criminals. They suspect the criminals toonce again become active when the circumstances change. It is surprising that the intellectuals do not express concern over grant of bail to the accused facing many criminal cases, but they do so on his death in police encounter.
Society has only three options. First – keep enduring persecution;often it becomes compulsion to the poor and the middle class.Second – struggle lawfully; it costs time, energy, money and also the peace of mind. In organized crimes, sometimes the justice delivery takes decades, and sometimes the criminals survive through their criminal power and legal stunts. Third – elimination of the criminals through police encounter outside the judicial system; although it is undemocratic, yet the society does not consider it bad in view of the increasing organized crimes and the growth of law resisting (manipulating) power of criminals.
Only the judiciary has the right to deliver the justice in a democracy. The judiciary is endowed with extra-ordinary powers conferred by the constitution. A gentlemen’s society has great expectation from the judiciary for social safety and security, and takes it for the God to deliver the justice. The evidence has special significance in the justice delivery system. A high-level impartial inquiry into the evolution of criminals, alliances of criminals with administrators and politicians, criminalization of politics, and income-versus-property of those who have been in power, etc. shall definitely bring the truth to light. It is necessary to take both the criminals and their protectors under the grip of law. The laws can also be improved and updated, if required, to effectively handle the organized crimes. According to the vector science and mathematics, if many vectors act in the same direction simultaneously, they lead to the highest resultant quantity. Otherwise the amount of the resultant can be zero, and even the direction can be reversed sometimes. Similarly, not only the judiciary, if all the organs of democracy make attempt together to create a crime-controlled India, the result will definitely be useful.
(The author is former Dean (Research & Consultancy) Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal)