“It is better a 100 guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer”
This anonymous quote (often wrongly attributed to Gandhi) in no way presents the belief of Indian judicial system. But it is an euphemistic representation of the non-existent ‘culture of tolerance’ and/or righteousness in India. Viewed from the perspective of caste conflict, where Dalits are always at the receiving end, this translates into “better 100 perpetrators of atrocity walk free, no caste-hindu should be punished”. Kheirlanji is but just one such case.
Thats the only way I can think of not saying the entire system is not-casteist. In Kheirlanji case there were 46 people arrested, 11 charge-sheeted, 2 got life sentence, 6 got death penalty. This is a process of elimination, which also filtered out two serious charges, ” caste atrocity” and “rape”.
The court can claim lack of evidence, the CBI can’t, the public prosecutor can’t !! Be it sloppy investigation, perfunctory persecution or a caste-blind court, the truth is that “women don’t just get killed, not even in a war”. And when it comes to families being lynched where a mob participates as if it were a festival of sorts, the victims are always Dalits (OK, sometimes christians and muslims). The perpetrators’ caste can be anything, as long as they rank theirs higher. That is their trump card to acquittal. It is amazing to look into the data. Only 5% cases reach court !! That means 95% cases, a dalit lodges an FIR under SC/ST POA only to find that the her perpetrators pay her a ‘courtesy visit’ with their new-found impunity (or at least roam scotfree). Of the 5% the conviction rate is an abysmal 15.71 % (against a general i.e IPC rate of 40%). That makes the actual conviction rate less than 1 % !!! [link]. That was in 2001-2002. However, NCRB shows the cargesheeting rate (i.e the rate at which a registered complaint reaches court) is 91.3 % (SC) and 95.9 % (ST), and the conviction rate 27.8 % (SC) and 28 % (ST). [link]. That suggests a huge number of atrocities go unreported.
In such scenario, when the court criticizes out-of-court reactions (of dropping ‘rape and ‘POA’ charges) saying, ‘do such people know the law and evidences’ [link], I can only laugh. We know the Truth, do you ?