Prevent misuse of system: Ex-SC judge Santosh Hegde on hanging of convicts

Bengaluru: Retired Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde expressed concern that it took a “long-time” to give effect to the apex court’s final judgement in the Nirbhaya case and called for steps to curb the misuse of the system.

It was overdue, said the former Solicitor General of India on the hanging of four men in Tihar jail early Friday for gang-rape and murder of a young Delhi woman, who came to be known as Nirbhaya.

“… the time taken to ultimately give effect to the final judgement of the Supreme Court gives rise to some sort of a thinking in the mind of the people: is justice really functioning?” Hegde told PTI here.

“Because ultimately when the highest court gives a verdict and constitution of law provides one review — may be a mercy petition before the President, you (the convicts) make a joke out of that. There were multiple petitions”, he noted.

Hegde said there should be some system to prevent “such misuse”, adding he does not buy the argument that everybody has a right to challenge it as long as it’s permissible in law.

On whether he favoured time-bound trial for heinous crimes, Hegde said every trial should be time-bound.

“Unfortunately, the system gives room for large delays; I think all concerned should sit and apply their mind to avoid this large delays and on how fast we can dispose of litigations.

“People take advantage of this, because of large delays lot of speculative litigation comes into the system which will spoil people’s confidence in the system”, he said.

The former Karnataka Lokayukta said he did not think that the ultimate hanging of Nirbhaya’s accused has sent any message in regard to speedy delivery of justice.

“At the most what we can say is justice will ultimately prevail but it took a long time”, he said.

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