Justice delayed, justice delivered
Salman Khan has always remained too big an enigma for me to easily classify him as a brat. Today, because of him, I find myself saddled with this unique predicament of having to decide which of the two mutually contradicting clichés is right: “Justice delayed is justice denied” and “Better late than never.” I guess both are right in their own way. While the lineage of the two dead black bucks shot by Salman has no inkling of the way human law courts function, it is in the interest of society’s balance that the justice, delivered so late, is better than having never been delivered.
Salman, as an inmate at Jodhpur Central Jail, will be in the company of rape accused godman Asaram, Rajsamand's hate-murder accused Shambhu Lal Raigar and the hoodlums of notorious gangster Lawrence Bishnoi who had once threatened to kill him. Not savoury at all!
Poachers are a criminal lot after all. But the way the Indian judiciary has worked towards convicting Salman is slightly beyond the comprehension of lay people like us. 19 years for a conviction in what has turned out to be an open-and-shut case is a bit too long by any standards. But to be fair to the Indian judiciary, there are examples of faster conviction of poachers closer home: the rhino poachers of Kaziranga.
In 2015, the Sonitpur additional sessions judge had sentenced three poachers to 7 years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed fines of Rs 50,000 on each. The verdict came within 14 months of their arrest, making it one of the fastest conviction cases against poachers. The conviction of the three came a week after the sessions court in Darrang had sentenced two poachers who had attempted to kill a rhino at the Orang National Park in 2011 – within 4 years of committing the crime and so, fast enough compared to the Salman conviction.
When all the brouhaha and TV debates over the “harshness” of Salman’s punishment abate, the mainland Indian judiciary might do well to take a leaf out of our Darrangs and Sonitpurs when it comes to dealing with poachers simply because these no do-gooders need to be told as quickly as possible that balanced society has no place for their ilk. They belong in jail!