Today morning people woke up to news of gangster Vikas Dubey encounter near Kanpur. His fate was sealed the day he killed 8 policemen and ran away. He was arrested yesterday as he was going to have darshan at Mahakal Temple in Ujjain. It is to be noted that many of the associates of Vikas Dubey have also been killed in encounters in recent days.
Events of Vikas Dubey encounter
Police says that while taking Vikas to Kanpur, the car met with an accident about 25 KM from Kanpur. Making use of the opportunity, Vikas tried to run after snatching the weapon of a policeman and was killed in the ensuing encounter.
It is to be noted that this is the story in 90% of the encounters. Vikas Dubey’s associates have been killed in the same manner. The last famous encounter in India was in Hyderabad. Readers will remember how the story was also the same there.
It is no doubt that these heinous criminals deserved death. But if the police uses same story for every encounter, it creates suspicion on the legality of such encounters. No doubt, the death of Vikas Dubey will be celebrated in the same way as people celebrated death of Hyderabad rapists. This is a serious comment on our criminal justice system.
Why people celebrate such encounters?
It is no secret that India’s criminal justice system is beset with multiple serious issues. The system is widely seen as corrupt and understood to be easily manipulated by powerful people.
Investigations by police are often shoddy due to lack of manpower, resources and appropriate training. The corruption adds another dimension. As a result the conviction rate is low in even serious cases like murder and rape.
Even when a criminal is under trial and in jail, he can safely run his empire from jail. Indeed, he gets all the facilities of a five star hotel in jail. It includes AC, TV, mobile phone, food of choice and servants! Many criminals, for example, Prakash Pandey, Mukhtar Ansari and Sunil Rathi, live in luxury and run their criminal enterprise from jails while the face in the outside world is someone from their relatives.
During trials it is common for evidence to be erased and witnesses to be murdered. The trial can go on for decades and convictions, even if they come, are often too late. An example can be taken of L N Mishra murder case.
L. N. Mishra was a Rail Minister in Indira Gandhi cabinet. He was a powerful man from a powerful family. His brother became CM of Bihar for 3 terms. He was murdered in 1975 at Samastipur Railway station. The murder trial in lower court was finished in 2014 after about 39 years. Most of the witnesses were dead, accused turned from young boys to old men and total of 20 judges heard the case.
Imagine the plight in cases of common men, if this is the case of a Cabinet Minister! About 3.5 crore cases are pending in Indian courts according to govt. statistics. Most of these are petty civil cases filed by govt., but these take up a lot of time. These impact serious judicial work.
The lack of convictions, long delays in justice and news of criminals getting VIP treatment in jail naturally lower the prestige of criminal justice system and creates a trust deficit. No one wants a Kasab getting biryani in jail.
It is fresh in our minds how rapists of Nirbhaya avoided death penalty and used various strategies to cheat justice. No wonder, we welcome encounters as substitutes to quick legal justice.
It must, however, be remembered that police action is always not in consonance with justice. By encouraging such acts, we might also encourage rouge elements in police who take suparis from one gang for another. Our priority should be to improve the broken criminal justice system.
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