Are We Heading Towards Lawlessness: Former CJI Lodha on Hyderabad Encounters

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Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Rajendra Mal Lodha.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — Former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha has condemned the killing of the accused in police encounter in the rape and murder case of a 27-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad.

Justice (retd) R M Lodha on Tuesday said the country is struggling to protect human rights of citizens and such crimes reflect the “deep malice” that has crept in the society.

“Are we heading towards a society of lawlessness,” Justice (retd) Lodha said, while lamenting that criminals are not afraid of committing heinous crimes such as rape and murder and “sadder” is the killing of the four accused in the police ‘encounter’.

He was speaking at an event organised by The International Institute of Human Rights Society to celebrate the Human Rights Day, reports Livelaw.in.

He also reportedly said that the people are going back to the seventeenth century Hammurabi’s code, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, nail for nail.The prologue of Hammurabi states, to make justice visible in the land, destroy the wicked person and evil doer.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud said that the Unnao rape survivor lying burnt and the dead bodies of four accused in the Hyderabad gangrape and murder case were the two “most telling pictorial representation of the two facets of India”.

He also spoke  at an event to mark Human Rights Day.

“While we are celebrating Human Rights Day, the fact of the matter is that we are struggling in protection of human rights. The case in point is the Hyderabad rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian and the killing of the accused in police encounter,” Justice (retd) Lodha said.

“That the crime of rape and murder are happening everyday in one part of the country or other reflect the deep malice that has crept in the society.” the former CJI said.

Referring to a statement by a Telangana minister that re-construction of crime scene in the Hyderabad gangrape and murder case was on instructions from above, he said it raises a big question as to whether we are “junking the due process and justice”, reports PTI.

Justice Chandrachud said, “We must ask ourselves whether close to a century of democratic rule has reduced the political, social and economic exclusion faced by many of our citizens.

Justice (retd) Lodha did not mince words as he spoke of the state of women safety in the country and said that 92 per cent of Nirbhaya fun created in 2013, which was meant to be utilised for improvement of safety of women, has remained unspent by state governments.

“The fact of the matter is that there is no effective working of schemes such as cyber crime against women and children and emergency response support system. These projects largely remain on paper. It is no surprise that crimes against women and children remain unabated. Blame game should stop,” he said.

It is time to completely strive for improving the systems and strengthening the institutions. The situation is grim as women and children are placed in insecure environment, Lodha said.

Police and prison reforms should be high priority matter for the government. There is a complete lack of infrastructure for scientific investigation, Justice (retd) Lodha said.

“The insufficient number of forensic laboratories in the country results in an enormous backlog of forensic work and delayed investigation,” Justice (retd) Lodha said.

Justice Chandrachud gave reference of Aarey tree felling incident and said that deliberative democracy and courts together can lead to the protection of human rights.

(With inputs from PTI)

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