The Priyanka Reddy rape-cum-murder case of Hyderabad, has outraged many people all over India, who are demanding a swift trial and death sentence on the perpetrators of this heinous crime.
I too am enraged and would like swift and harsh sentence on the culprits. The point, however, is who are the real culprits?
It is said that the four persons arrested have confessed to the crime.
I have been forty years in the legal world, twenty years as a lawyer and twenty years as a Judge, and I would like to say frankly that I have no faith in confessions.
Torture is such a terrible thing that one will confess to anything under torture.
Joan of Arc
confessed to be a witch under torture.
There are certain things I would like to tell the Indian people about how crimes are often ‘solved’ in India:
1. Criminal investigation is a science, as one learns from the stories of Sherlock Holmes. In Discovery Channel one can see how crimes are solved in America.
The police goes to the spot, collects fingerprints, bloodstains, fibers, ashes, firearms evidence, knives etc, and these are taken to a scientific laboratory for examination.
The fingerprints are put in a national computer network to trace out whether the person has a criminal background. DNA tests of semen, bloodstains etc are often of great help in identifying the criminal, e.g. in the case of Gary Ridgway, the Green Valley serial killer.
Teethmarks on decomposed bodies can help identifying the criminal, as in the case of the serial killer Ted Bundy.
In India, on the other hand, most policemen are neither trained in scientific investigation, nor do they have the scientific equipment for the same, and yet they are often put under pressure to solve the crime.
They fear they may be suspended if they don’t.
So what do they do?
They take recourse to the time tested method of torture, after arresting someone on mere suspicion. Often false evidence is also fabricated.
Supposing a robbery or dacoity takes place in a village. Now the police Daroga (sub inspector) does not know how to scientifically investigate and solve the crime (because he has not been trained in it, nor provided the equipment for it).
So he asks some people of the locality "Who does these kinds of crimes?".
Someone names Kallu, so Kallu is caught hold of, and given danda
, until he confesses, and the crime is ‘solved’.
2. In criminal trials in India nowadays it is almost impossible to obtain independent witnesses.
This is because even if one has seen a crime he will not inform the police out of (1) fear of attack by the culprits, and (2) fear of being dragged into a lengthy court proceeding where his presence may be required on several dates. So to get a conviction the police often must get false witnesses.
3. As regards close relatives of the victim who are willing to testify, they may also give false evidence after being coached by the police.
This they often do because in their burning desire for revenge they want a conviction, and they are not too much bothered whether the person convicted is really guilty or not. The police say he is guilty, and that is the end of the matter.
I request the public to keep all this in mind before demanding swift trial and death sentence to the four accused.
Emotions are running high at the moment, so it is time for people, who are presently baying for blood, to cool down, and do some rational thinking.
When emotions rise high, often injustice follows, as illustrated by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar, in which the hysterical Roman mob demands hanging of Cinna the poet despite his pleading that he is not Cinna the conspirator.
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI
Three Women of 1984
FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?
REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE
KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM
If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?
Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt
Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal
Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?
In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart
WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron
"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship
The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!
WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed
AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER
OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties
TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE
OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES
Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA
BAD, BAD WOMAN!
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT