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.
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?