Author : Piyush Vyas, Student at Jindal Global Law School
It is often believed by the public that Justice shall be delivered instantaneously as Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. This paper is based on the movie SIMMBA where policemen are hailed as heroes for delivering Justice instantaneously by taking law in their own hands, but the Rule of Law is supreme and shall further be upheld. No hasty decisions should be taken as Justice Hurried is Justice Buried.
Montesquieu gave the theory of Separation of power. Montesquieu stated, “When either the legislature or executive powers are united in the same person or in the same body of magistrates there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or separate should enact tyrannical laws.” (Montesquieu, 1748 ) The Constitution of India is based on Separation of powers. Article 50 of the Indian Constitution lays a functional separation of powers in the manner that State shall take steps to separate the Judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State. The power to do Justice to the people and the society is only reserved in the hands of the Judiciary which has been enshrined in the Indian Constitution. In order to keep the principles of the Constitution alive, there must be no overreach by any pillar of democracy. The movie ‘SIMMBA’ revolves around the idea of police force overreaching the power of Judiciary in order to deliver Justice instantaneously.
OVERVIEW OF THE PAPER AND RELEVANT JUDGEMENTS
The movie SIMMBA divulges the real insight of the unscrupulous working of the system where bureaucrats, politicians and criminals are interconnected and are in the realm of corruption. As per an RTI filed query, National Human Rights Commission had registered 1,782 cases of fake encounters in India between 2000 and 2017. Even in the movie, ‘Simmba’ Shagun’s (Sara Ali Khan) father made his name as the policeman for committing the maximum number of murders in the name of encounters and was hailed as a hero. It is quite evident that the lives of the poor and weak are quite inexpensive in our country, which further brings a possibility about the misuse of encounters in order to save the guilty and punish the innocent. Policemen often justify themselves by saying that there are some criminals against whom no one would stand as witnesses to the crime, Justice would never be served and even if is served would never be on time thence, the only way to deal is through fake encounters without realizing the misuse of this dangerous philosophy which can lead to disasters.
Recently, on July 3, 2020, an aghast state of affairs was taken place in the state of Uttar Pradesh wherein, eight policemen were martyred allegedly by the involvement of Vikas Dubey. On 9 July 2020 Vikas Dubey was arrested/surrendered in the city of Ujjain and was killed on 10 July 2020 in an encounter while he was in police custody. Prior to this, five alleged accomplices of Vikas were already killed in the same manner in an encounter by the police. The narrative of the events in the contemporary case – Car overturned -Snatching of Pistol from the cops- police asking to surrender-firing at policemen- retaliatory firing by police, makes it seem no less than a Bollywood movie script and invites huge distrust and clearly points to a fake scripted encounter. What made it even sad was the fact that people were cheering the police for the instant Justice they had delivered through encounter. What people should understand is that by cheering the forces who are violators of law, they are eventually promoting ‘GUNDA RAAJ’ which certainly has no space for law and order to prevail. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of PUCL v. State of Maharashtra mandated the registration of an F.I.R initiating proper criminal procedure in cases of death due to encounter. (PUCL v State of Maharashtra & others , 2014 ) Even in Prakash Kadamb vs Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta, The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that fake encounters by police are nothing but cold-blooded murders and that committing must be given a death sentence, treating them in the category of ‘rarest of rare cases.’ (Prakash Kadamb & Etc. Etc vs Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta & Anr , 2011 )
There is a presumption of innocence -that defendants are innocents unless proven guilty and the right to free trial further becomes a constitutional right in order to prove his/her innocence. In the infamous Ryan International Murder Case Ashok Kumar, a bus conductor confessed to having committed the murder of Pradyuman, a class 2 student. But it was later found that son of a wealthy businessman, a class 11 student was the real culprit and had apparently killed the child in a bid to postpone exams. Ashok Kumar confessed that he had confessed committing of murder under coercion, regular threats, torture and beating from the Gurugram Police. Had an instantaneous decision been given without meticulous investigation and trial, the life of an innocent would have sacrificed and would have amounted to a miscarriage of Justice. Therefore, in order to satisfy the requirements of Justice, the Judiciary needs to be meticulous as hasty decisions may have devastating effects.
Incidents similar to the movie ‘Simmba’ ensued, and people adulated the lawbreakers showing their complete disbelief in the rule of law and the judiciary system. In the movie SIMMBA, in order to take revenge from the rapists Ranveer Singh, the protagonist plotted a fake encounter, took law in his hands and shot the rapists in the police custody. An investigation by Special Investigation Team was held where Singham (Ajay Devgan) conducted a partial investigation in favor of the police, signifying the flaw in the investigation system. Singham (Ajay) prominently articulated that Justice could not be served until and unless an insane policeman shoots the violators dead.
Movies definitely have a profound psychological impact on humans. The film Bambi depicted a mother deer being killed by a hunter before her baby’s eyes. After the film was in theatres, deer hunting in the US was cut in half. (Bambi , 1942 ) Similarly, it is quite conceivable that movies can have adverse psychological effects. An instance related to movie SIMMBA was reported in 2019 where Hyderabad police shot dead four men suspected of gang-raping and killing a young female vet. The men were in police detention and were taken back to the scene of the crime. The accused were shot by the police when they allegedly tried to steal the guns of the cops and escaped. This seems to be a transparent form of conspiracy and a similar plotting as in the movie SIMMBA. The Apex Court set up a 3- member inquiry commission which was headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Sirkapur to investigate in order to determine if these were extrajudicial killings.
Extrajudicial killings are not at all a solution to preventing crimes. But for a surprise, the killing of four men accused of gang-raping and murdering a young woman in Hyderabad was largely greeted with joy in India. Just hours after the shootings, about 2,000 people gathered at the site to celebrate this police action. They chanted “police zindabad” (“hail the police”), distributed sweets and showered flowers on the spot where the 27-year-old vet’s charred body was found and, in her neighborhood, too, a large number of people gathered, setting off celebratory firecrackers and distributing sweets. When asked from the people about the reason for celebration, they replied-“Justice has been served without Delay!” (Pandey, 2019)
The fact is that Justice has its own essentials. Chief Justice of India Shri Arvind Bobde observed, “Justice is never ought to be instant. Justice should never ever take the form of Revenge. Justice loses its character as Justice if it becomes Revenge”
Research by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee has found that if people see an image of someone being arrested, they are likely to think the person is guilty. (Committee, n.d.)Citizens, Media and other forces instantly make a conjecture about the guilt of the accused and forget the presumption of innocence -that defendants are innocent unless proven guilty which results in the killing of innocent lives either through mob lynching or through forces.
Lynching is a form of extrajudicial killing which is used to symbolize the supremacy of people over the law where the accused are informally executed by a mob in order to deter or punish the offenders instantaneously. In the movie, SIMMBA Ranveer Singh ordered the female constables to lynch the convicts collectively. Lynching is a product of the idea of ‘instant’ Justice, which has caused a structured hazard to the judicial system of the country. In the 2015 Dimapur mob lynching case, a mob in Dimapur, Nagaland broke into a jail and lynched an accused rapist on March 5 ,2015 while he was awaiting his trial. Later the Nagaland government reports averred that it was a consensual sex and not rape. (Singh, 2015) The cases of lynching people have been increasing from the past few decades. Considering the up-surging number of lynching cases, in July 2018, the Supreme Court passed directives urging parliament to enact a law to deal with crime that “threatens the Rule Of Law and country’s social fabric”.
DK Basu v West Bengal is a landmark Judgement against instant justice done by the police, in which The Hon’ble Supreme Court took suo motu over the letter written by DK Basu and treated it as a writ petition and opined that Custodial Violence, including Torture and Death in Lock Ups, strikes a blow at the Rule of Law. (D. K. Basu, Ashok K.Johri v State of West Brngal, State of UP, 1996 )
In Sheela S. Yerpude vs Home Department And Ors, The Apex Court severely criticized the existence of Custodial Death and regarded it to be one of the Worst Crimes in a Civilized Society to be governed by the Rule of Law. (Sheela S. Yerpude vs Home Department And Ors. , 2005)
The apex Court observed that despite the presence of several Constitutional and Statutory provisions aimed at safeguarding the personal liberty and life of a citizen, there had been several instances of torture and deaths in police custody which was a disturbing factor. Considering this, the Hon’ble court laid guidelines to arrest and detain the arrestee. The aforesaid case laws are landmark judgements to limit the powers, arbitrariness of police and to restrain them from taking the law into their own hands and insisting them to follow the Judicial process and not deliver justice instantly. It shall be contemplated that the act of serving ‘instant justice’ is within itself a heinous crime. And an eye for an eye or a life for a life policy cannot be followed.
Justice follows its own course and it is necessary that Justice is done fairly through substantial witnesses and evidence and is further devoid of any prejudice which certainly takes its own time. In the search for fastened justice the important facts may be overruled, important judgements may turn to disaster, one person’s happiness may transfer to someone else’s sadness. Martin Luther King Jr rightly said, “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in the said purpose, they become those dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” Undoubtedly it very important to deliver justice on time as it is certainly unfair for the aggrieved party as no light of hope is seen in order to meet the ends of justice. As there is no use of life insurance to a deceased, similarly Justice loses its essence if not delivered on time which narrows down to Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. Criminal justice delivery system shall reconsider its attitude and position towards the delayed time in order to dispose of criminal matters but that can undoubtedly not deduce to the point of delivering Justice instantly. This is a grave issue but cannot be at the cost of the lives of many. Movies such as SIMMBA create a very negative impact on the minds of the people. Doing Justice Instantly could have devasting effects that further hampers justice and amounts to its miscarriage.
- Montesquieu, 1748 . The Spirit Of Law. s.l.:Charles de Secondat .
- PUCL v State of Maharashtra & others (2014 ).
- Prakash Kadamb & Etc. Etc vs Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta & Anr (2011 ).
- Bambi. 1942 . [Film] Directed by David and Pearce, Pearce Hand. United States : Walt Disney .
- Pandey, G., 2019. Why Indians are celebrating the Killings. Delhi: BBC News.
- Committee, H. H., n.d. The Importance of Appearances: How Suspects and Accused Persons are presented in the Courtroom, in Public and in the Media. s.l.:ungarian Helsinki Committee .
- Singh, V., 2015. Dimapur lynching: It was ‘consensual sex’ not rape, says Nagaland govt report. New Delhi : Press Trust of India .
- Sheela S. Yerpude vs Home Department And Ors. (2005).
- K. Basu, Ashok K.Johri v State of West Brngal, State of UP (1996 ).