Judiciary should not show undue sympathy towards criminals

Balakumar Rajendran

Supreme Court has held that the judiciary must not show undue sympathy towards the criminals while awarding the sentence as this would ruin the public trust on laws and judiciary. If the courts lose the basic trust of the society there would be no tranquillity and faith in the Indian legal system. There would be pandemonium proliferating throughout the society.

The law of nature has it that every individual is a combination of both the good and the wicked spirit and thus wicked spirit is chastened only by law. It can be illustrated with one example. The government provides tax supported programs to benefit citizens, in the field of academics. Every human being has a choice t either avail these benefits or drop out of school, and fall prey to all the unlawful activities thus becoming a threat to the society by indulging in criminal activities. The law will chasten these individuals by way of punishment.

It becomes an obligatory function of the judiciary to provide punishment in the event of a wrong doing and for this, criminals have to be awarded punishment based on the nature of the offence and sympathy should never be brought in as it would in-turn melt the sovereignty of the Law. Awarding justice without considering undue sympathy will only protect the public.

In our day to day lives we often come across many crimes and offences being committed in the community. For instance if we talk about rape, we daily come across such heinous crimes being committed in almost every nook and corner of the country.  However, the Nirbhaya gang-rape case that occurred on 16th December 2012 alarmed the whole country. This case becomes very important if we are to analyse the concept of justice with no emotions attached to it. It was Mens Rea or the guilty intention and wilfulness of committing the crime that made the bench award capital punishment for all the four convicts without taking into consideration the aspect of sympathy. This case clearly illustrates why a judgment should not be given on the grounds of sympathy towards the criminals.  These convicts were convicted for besides murder, for offences like gang rape, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity (robbery by armed gang), and destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping and various other offences.

The entire legal system functions on the aim of providing and promoting justice. Justice, the sole aim of the Indian judiciary can only be attained if there is no sympathy and emotions attached to it. If we were to bring in the concept of sympathy, the very essence of our legal system shall crumble right before our eyes. Thus, the judiciary made a right move by destroying the dimension of sympathy while awarding sentences.

Courting Injustice the Nirbhaya Case and its Aftermath, Rajesh Talwar


Anisha D’Cruz, II year LLM student, School of Legal Studies, CUSAT

jpgIn a society where a rape victim is raped hundred times by the ephemeral social stigma and media Nirbhaya like Mathura was fortunate enough at least to create her martyrdom into A Box news and a substantive relief at least to her aftermaths. Rajesh Talwar through his book reminds us the very fact that a victim of sexual cannibalism courts injustice at every stage and discusses the changes that this case has bought on the Indian Penal system .

Inclusion of an abstract of the voluminous Verma Committee report and its consequences into the chapterisation of the book  takes the discussion to the postulates which culminated in the Criminal Law amendment Act 2013 and which have bought relief to victims of smaller crimes like stalking ,voyeurism ….inter alia .He also brings to light the 10 percentof the report that was swallowed into the gallows of darkness(like the role of victims in sentencing and the possibility to file a victim impact statement).   Even the common man who is not well researched in law comes to know of these possibilities and its application elsewhere in the World.

A discussion of the Protection of children against sexual atrocities Act 2012 and the gender neutrality with regard to victim would surely be a new bit of info to many who are not learned in law. The child friendliness with regard recording of evidence and the privilege of non -confrontation with accused would surely motivate a common reader to confront the courts if ever they come across such an incident in life. Thereby the book anhilates the lacunae in cases of similar nature coming before court

The picturisation of the Nirbhaya incident is with such good  an editorial knife and eye that the reader could picturise the plight of the victim and the trial procedures . Though media has given an outlook on the issue, the book provides a perfect compilation under the same roof .

He gives rebirth to Priyadarsini Matoo in our minds when he reminds us that delayed justice is justice denied. Reminding  us of  the fact that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely he sites  examples of judges  who are supposed to represent the goddess of justice themselves manipulating the truth .

By depicting Nirbahya he has shown how  daughters of mother India is raped and though laws exist why they fail in getting justice .The theme of the book like the title is sensational with a lot of sensitivity and the language is simple and worth rumination with the authors perspective

Publisher                        Hay House Publication

Publication Year           2013 October

ISBN-13                           9789381398494

ISBN-10                           9381398496

Language                        English

Edition                             First Edition

Binding                            Paperback

Number of Pages         264 Pages