The verdict of the hon. Supreme court granting 5 year imprisonment to Sanjay Dutt has attracted a lot of debate in the past few days. The whole Bollywood fraternity showed support to him. Some of them also suggested pleading to the governor of Maharashtra to grant him mercy on the grounds of suffering he had in the last 20 years. Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman PCI, went on to say that because his family has sacrificed a lot for the country and his movies have revived the message of Gandhiji in the people, he should be let free. It is a disturbing thought that so many high profiles could condemn and challenge the verdict on purely emotional grounds. I totally understand the Bollywood sentiments. They have a lot of investment on Sanjay Dutt. But such a statement coming from a retired Supreme Court judge provokes me to ask ‘Is the judiciary biased towards powerful and rich’?
The conviction of Sanjay Dutt was no ordinary. He was convicted under the arms act, which calls for punishment anywhere between 5 to 10 years. He was having 3 AK-56 rifles, 9 magazines, 450 cartridges, a 9mm pistol and over 20 hand grenades. That’s not the complete picture. He got these grenades from Abu Salem, who then used to work for Dawood Ibrahim. Friendship and deals with the underworld people, who were responsible for the 1993 Mumbai Blasts, does not seem a small offence to me. Again, even after getting arrested, Sanjay Dutt had the luxury of taking help from the best legal counsel available. This was not the case with some other convicts, who might have spent a lot more time in jail, even if their crime was less than his. On another statement by the PCI Chairman about spreading gandhigiri and doing charitable work, there is need to do this for PR purpose rather than a sense of Social Service. I believe such activities are more of an initiative to escape your name as a criminal to the one as a good person/saviour. If tomorrow, Salman Khan gets convicted for the charge of poaching of a blackbuck or hit and run case, a wave of sympathy will again run and people will call for his philanthropic endeavours. True, there might be some development done by his charities, but does that reduce the magnitude of his crime.
Thankfully, we people are driven by emotions but the law of a country is not. The Supreme Court judgement has atleast increased by confidence in the judiciary is still not completely biased by money and muscle. Hope that the people of this country also see that the constitution and the law of a country is a bigger than an individual.