Punishing the Victims?
Zahira Sheikh. Sure you remember her as a witness in ghastly tale of the death of her family members. And later as a witness who flip-flopped on her testimonies to the court, and therefore punished by imprisonement for this.
Bharti Yadav. She has been declared a proclaimed offender in the Nitish Katara case.
- In both the cases - these people are victims first, and witnesses later.
- In the first case - There are innumerable testimonies of refusal of police to record the names of the accused. How many of these have been punished? And men who threatened and intimidated witnesses, are roaming free.
- Instead of law being inclined to prosecuting the victims for contempt of court, it should be noted that - witnesses fear their own harrasment and fear of life (which is very much a reality). When will the police and law deal with this aspect?
Read this very well written article by Harsh Mander (Human Rights Activist) here:
"But it must be remembered that in contrast to most hostile witnesses in cases like Jessica Lal, Zahira was and remains above all a victim."
Another one by Rakesh Shukla (SC Advocate):
"Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught. ~Honoré de Balzac"