Chautala’s delayed conviction best case for fast courts

Delhi’s trial court has taken more than 13 years to do this


Prasanna Mohanty | January 22, 2013

Photo: Arun Kumar

Conviction and sentencing of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his accomplices by a Delhi trial court - for gross irregularities committed in appointment of junior basic trained (JBT) teachers - may be a welcome development, what is clearly not is the time the judiciary has taken to reach this stage.

The scam was first exposed in 1999. The trial court has, thus, taken more than 13 years to convict and sentence him. By no means, this is the end of the judicial process. Chautala now has the option of approaching the high court and then, the supreme court, before he actually serves out the sentence. That may take another decade or more. Who knows?

Also read: Chautala, son get 10 years in jail: supporters are angry

That is why union minister Kamal Nath was right when, earlier this month, he proposed fast-track courts for politicians under cloud too (in addition to the fast tracks for rape cases that the Delhi high court has proposed).

Needless to say, quick justice is in everybody’s interest. The courts get to decide more cases, de-clogging the system in the process. Quick justice reinforces people’s faith in the judicial system. The politician gets justice, one way or the other, without having to spend years in litigation. The general public too wouldn’t have to wait indefinitely to see the guilty politician punished or the innocent one cleared of doubts and accusations.

Kamal Nath proposed amendments in the law so that serious criminal cases against politicians could be tried and decided in six months. The government and the judiciary may have ignored it so far, but it is worth considering.



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