Gaps we must close
- This week, a man suspected of theft died after he was tied to a pole in northeast Delhi and beaten with sticks
NEW DELHI : Public lynchings in India may be isolated cases, but each instance tarnishes the country’s rule-of-law credentials. This week, a man suspected of theft died after he was tied to a pole in northeast Delhi and beaten with sticks, a ghastly violation of his legal rights that was captured by a video clip in circulation on social media. In August, home demolitions in Haryana’s Nuh town had to be halted by the high court in Chandigarh for not following the process of law laid down for such action. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh had acquired a reputation for encounter killings by police forces that gave alleged criminals no chance of a judicial-system defence. Whatever the circumstances, news reports of this kind do not help India’s case globally when our representatives aver that extra-judicial punishment is not the country’s policy. Indeed, it is not. India is a constitutional democracy that accords everyone a right to be heard in court and insists on proof for pronouncements of guilt. However, gaps persist between what the law requires and what sometimes happens on the ground. Instead of being distracted by relativist arguments of what people may or may not deserve, let’s close those glaring gaps.