Justice Vs Position in Society

Could justice be dependent on a person’s position in society ? Or, could justice rendered be tweaked to ensure that a person of importance in society is spared from punishment ? Should justice be overturned by the executive arm of the government, irrespective of the nature or severity of the crime ?

What is the position of a democratic form of government on such critical matters ?

The general population could argue in a particular manner, either for or against the person who has committed a crime in the past. The supporters and family members of the accused/convicted person would obviously support that person, irrespective of the nature and severity of the crime, because they do not believe that the person committed the crime in the first place.

But, what about the executive arm of the government ? What about people with influence in society ? What about ex Office bearers and ex judges ?

Does their “opinion” count ?

What about the good deeds purportedly committed by the convicted person ? Do these deeds count towards a reduction in the sentence meted out ? Do these deeds warrant a special attention by the executive ?

What about the importance of the convicted person’s family ? If that family is powerful enough, could they manage to defer the sentence ? Could they influence the government ?

On what basis the government of the day would pardon a convicted person ? What explanation can it give to the other thousands of people (ordinary folks) who are awaiting sentencing, or have already been sentenced ? Where does the pardoning exercise stop ? Is it going to be always influenced by power and position in society ?

Important questions for democracy and the judicial system to answer.

It is critical to analyze the pros and cons and arrive at a decision which could then be extrapolated to the rest of the society – that is the only way to go about it. The usual excuse of a “case-by-case” situation analysis would not be applicable in all but the most trivial of crimes.

It is very important for the judiciary and the government to make the right decisions – India is a huge country with nearly 1.2B people. Justice should not only be done, but also perceived to be done in a fair and equitable manner.

Let us think about this key topic more seriously and come to a conclusion ourselves.


Vijay Srinivasan
23rd March 2013


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