India may mean many things to
many but one thing is common - it has a robustly functional democracy - a 2:30 AM
hearing on Yakub Memon in the Supreme Court shows it.
Yes, Yakub Memon's case is not going
to be a beginning to undo the chasm and malaise that beset Indian democracy.
It is not going to address the
problem of 'legal remedy getting costlier' and therefore being not available to
the majority of the population.
India's top court, in an unprecedented
move, in a first, opened after midnight to hear someone who was going to die in
next few hours after being given death sentence.
And the development is indeed a
positive factors, is an indicator of how strong are democratic values -
irrespective of the reasons working behind it.
The point is - India's apex court
worked on it - even after rejecting Yakub Memon's last legal options just few
Yes, India's democracy is
'robustly functional' because India is the world largest democracy and has been
so for nearly 70 years in spite of multitudes of problems working overtime to
drag it backward. Its future is rightly expected to keep positive promises to
In fact, India is the only
democracy in the world where large population groups of different religions
coexist under a common Constructional administration. Yes, religion does give
them some specific leverages but that is mostly individual in nature and
doesn't intervene with the nation's governance.
Yes, it is daydreaming to expect
that this unprecedented late night/early morning hearing by the Supreme Court
is going to set a trend where people with such 'extreme grievance conditions' will
be able to knock the apex court at any hour of the day.
Majority will simply not get the
coordinates required - lawyers and round the clock coverage - that Yakub Memon got and that made it possible
- something that made the apex court take cognizance of a late night plea to
conduct a hearing.
Debates like 'death penalty has
no place in a civilized world' have their own validity but we need to be equally
sensitive to the issue that it is an endless debate between 'being right' in
abolishing death penalty and 'being justified' in demanding harshest punishment
to the perpetrators (including capital punishment).
And our democracy gives space to
both, or even to them who are still not clear what is their viewpoint.
And the late night hearing by the
Supreme Court on plea of Yakub Memon's lawyers and by a battery of lawyers
working to abolish the death penalty from Indian penal system should be seen in