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Friday, January 8, 2016

CAN THE POOR GET JUSTICE FROM LAW IN A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY?



If you visit the prisons in a democratic country, you will mostly find poor people lodged there. Does this mean that rich and powerful people in democracy don’t   commit  crimes.  As far I know some of the biggest and most heinous   crimes are    committed by the rich and powerful but somehow the law is such that they escape punishment.


Poor people are sometimes  picked up on suspicion for criminal acts by the police and since they have no money to fight the case or get bail they are sent to prisons for an indeterminate period and their case don’t even  come in the court for a hearing. Sometimes innocent people are sent to prisons by the lower court and such people don’t have the money to go on appeal in a   higher court.


At the same time people with money and power engage the best lawyers who find loopholes in the law and escape punishment. Here is an example in the Indian context.


A well know actor in India  drove a car without license and in an inebriated condition on the foot path and killed a poor man  sleeping there  and seriously injured several  others.


This actor dragged the case for thirteen long years or shall we say the  court allowed him to drag the case for this long period and one witness died in the meanwhile. Finally, this man was convicted for five years in prison. He went on an appeal and the higher court acquitted him for want of proof.


The guardian reports as follows.


Quote.
One of Bollywood’s biggest stars has been cleared on appeal of killing a homeless man in a drunken hit-and-run, a decision likely to revive questions about how India’s justice system treats the rich and famous.
Actor Salman Khan’s Toyota Land Cruiser veered off a main road in Mumbai into a group of people sleeping rough outside a bakery in 2002, killing labourer Nurulah Mahbob Sharif and injuring four others.
A Mumbai court found Khan, 49, guilty of culpable homicide earlier this year, saying he was drunk behind the wheel when the accident happened and tried to flee the scene.
That ruling has now been overturned by the Bombay high court. The judge ruled that statements from the state’s star witness – a bodyguard who died of tuberculosis in 2007 – were not “wholly reliable”, and the prosecution had failed to conclusively establish that Khan was drunk.
“The prosecution failed to establish its case on all charges,” Justice A R Joshi told a packed courtroom, announcing that Khan had been acquitted.
His defence team had argued that Khan’s driver was in charge of the car, not the actor, and lost control when a tyre burst. The star had been drinking water all evening and only climbed out of the driver’s seat after the accident because the passenger door was damaged, lawyers said.

Unquote.
The actor’s car killed the poor man and seriously injured four others. What about justice for them and their families?

Can any one drive a car without license and in a drunken state?Did this actor have a driverless car which drove on its own fully drunk?

This actor who was acquitted is not a first time offender. He was previously jailed for nearly a week for hunting endangered gazelles, and is on bail in a separate case over killing protected antelopes. A former partner, actor and Miss World winner Aishwarya Rai, also claimed that he harassed her after their split.

What is your opinion about the justice system in a democratic country? Don't you think it is heavily tilted against the poor?

25 comments:

  1. I think there does need to be a serious shift in the way the law works. Especially in the respect of richer people getting away with crimes. It's a really sad thing to see and unless something is done it's only going to get worse.

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    1. Constitutionally, the poor should enjoy justice just like the rich. But it'd not so in most democratic system.

      Winning a case in court is not a joke, several things are required. You need a strong legal council to proof your innocence. Without money, this is not realistic.

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  2. Unfortunately, it does seem that the rich often are able to afford expensive lawyers who are able to defend them and get charges against them dismissed. The poor are often assigned a public defender who does not have the knowledge and experience and pull that the expensive lawyers have.

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  3. I have to agree that the people with money have access to better legal counsel than us poor folks. The laws are supposed to be equal for everyone but all too often the more wealthy can manipulate the law and call in favors to make their lives easier. I guess the solution is for the less fortunate to obey the laws at all times.

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  4. Its a sad fact that the poor will always be at a disadvantage.

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  5. Yes, there are so many changes that desperately need to be made to the legal systems of the world.
    Why should the rich be allowed to walk away from their crimes simply because they have money and influence, whereas a poor person is often treated as the scapegoat and has no redress?
    It is one of life's genuine tragedies.:(

    You certainly gave me a lot of "food for thought" here Joseph.
    Many thanks.

    Happy New Year! :)

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  6. They should. But if the question is if they can, that really depends I'm afraid.

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  7. In theory the judicial system was set up to be unbiased, unprejudiced,and the like. Boasting to be equally just for all both rich and poor. A public defender is provided for ones with no money. But in reality This is not true as you have pointed out.That being one case in thousands. maybe more.White collar crime is at an all time high. If these high profile persons even make it to trial very few are prosecuted. A perfect example were the ones responsible for the Wall Street crash. There were no arrests. No one went to trial. In fact they were rewarded with generous bonuses. And where did that money come from? Bail out money.The tax payer. Case in point.The system is broken. They don't need new laws. They just need to enforce the ones already on the books. Joseph you are totally right it is all about the money

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  8. Those who have money and influence find out public support & loopholes to do malpractice of escape from criminal case charges , whereas a poor person is often treated as the scapegoat even though he is charged under suspicious background.

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  9. I will have to agree. It is unfortunate that the rich have the money to afford the best lawyers and also the power to influence the judicial system at times.

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  11. The rich tend to commit different kinds of crimes—fewer violent crimes and more white collar crimes. Of course, when the latter bankrupt million, and push the economy to the edge of collapse, knowingly allow people to be killed in defective cars, etc. they most certainly should spend the rest of their lives behind bars, but they rarely even go to jail.

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  12. yes, the game is rigged.

    justice is not blind and the scales are not balanced. although the scales are far from being balanced at the present time, i think things are very slowly improving. who knows, in a few thousand years, they may be balanced.

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  13. Interesting question. I would say that he very nature of democracy would ensure that everyone gets a fair hearing, no matter what their economic position is. But, as we know...

    Greetings from London.

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  14. Yes I do agree that the world has succumb to much corruption.
    Take the case against Hilary Clinton. I have always said there is "no
    way" she will be accused of any wrong-doing. But yesterday, a spokesperson
    said Mrs. Clinton's emails included material that exceeded "top secret" and would be called "gross negligence" under the Espionage Act. But, most likely she will be our next president if there's an election.

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  15. It is really a reliable topic at this juncture of convicting numerous underprivileged and acquitting those who lie on the bed of luxury.

    Many a time fury spurts to the reasonable minds when we come across such verdicts of injustice.I suspect judiciary as a synonym to injustice in such conditions.Here the phrase 'violation of law' is not discernible in the dictionary of haves.They can define it in accordance with his comfort.It facilitates his coziness and felicitates his achievement in committing crimes.

    I understand that even if a person is convicted with rigorous imprisonment his riches allow him to sleep in the comfy bed of home, turning his jail life justa name sake exercise.

    India has become a country of the rich, for the rich and by the rich.'ഓണം പിറന്നാലും ഉണ്ണി പിറന്നാലും കോരനു കുമ്പിളിൽ തന്നെ കഞ്ഞി'(Even if it is a festival or childbirth, the poor gets his food in leaf-cornets).

    I will conclude by quoting a live example. a poor woman's better-half has been sent to jail on a complaint by another female.This poor woman approached an advocate for the bail of her husband and the latter claimed around forty thousand rupees. This women sold her hard-earned gold chain and above that borrowed some money from others. Even I helped her with a small amount not as loan.Even if he is guilty the expense should fall within their fiscal capacity,shouldn't it? Rich or poor expenditure is a huge entity.

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  16. I’ve head it said that justice delayed in justice denied. Nothing but money could have kept that man out of prison. When the law doesn’t do its job, one can but wonder if vigilante justice isn’t necessary. For instance, if a relative of one of the dead went out and killed that actor, and I was on his jury, would I convict? Almost certainly not because I would think that the asshole got exactly what he deserved.

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  17. I agree with what Rudraprayag said...

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  18. Snowbrush, In India I have come across two types of killings. One is lynching by a mob of infuriated bystanders and the other is honor killing. An example of honor killing. An upper caste girl elopes with a lower caste man, then the family of the upper caste will murder the lower caste man and sometimes his whole family.
    Here I am mostly worried about the quality of judgments which is heavily tilted against the poor especially when the accused is a rich and powerful man.The judges are not accountable for their judgments and there is no punishment for wrong judgments.

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    1. Here, the punishments for the types of crimes that rich people do is less than for those that poor people do. Even so, America has more of its citizens in prison than does any other country.

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    2. "the family of the upper caste will murder the lower caste man and sometimes his whole family."

      It's breathtaking, really. I had thought that the worst of the caste systems abuses were behind us.

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  19. Have you ever seen democracy??? It's almost possible just in small group of people where you can vote for an act not for a person. The living is about competition. We are not better poor people to spare them.

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  20. That's awful! It does seem the rich have some advantages that the poor do not...

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    1. " It does seem the rich have some advantages that the poor do not..."

      Like money and influence?

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