Sunday, 29 July 2007

Dr. Mohammed Haneef and the under-trials of India

At last, Dr.Mohammed Haneef has walked out of the Australian prison in which he had been in solitary confinement for almost a month. Much to the relief of his relatives, friends, and fellow citizens he has come out of the worst nightmare of his life. Thanks to the glare of the media around the world and protests by native Australians in Australia Haneef’s ordeal ended soon. This heart wrenching yet sensational story had ended with a happy note. Our thanks to the media and the public (especially the Australians, and I never heard or seen anything from our own public in support of Dr. Haneef, or did I?).

The extraordinary case of Dr. Haneef brings to mind the fate of thousands of under-trials lurching in Indian prisons inevitably and raises discomforting questions. From petty criminals to terror suspects they all await the proverbial light at the end of Indian Justice Delivery System tunnel. Their stay behind the bars count to several months and years. The state of poverty of most of the under-trials keeps them away from walking out of the prison on bail. The snail-paced justice delivery system of our country needs to be revamped. A fair and quick trial not only helps the under-trial to prove his innocence quickly but also gives the victim the much-awaited justice if the under-trial is proven guilty.

Justice delayed is justice denied; it is high time that our government and judiciary think over this clichéd saying.