Several Malayalam flicks had set the cash registers ringing at the box office recently. But they are nothing compared to the unscreened version of the latest sensational hit, Pulsar Suni: the art of crime and surrender, in terms of the mass exhilaration it generated.
Yet, the drama that unfurled on the court premises in Kochi the other day drew a mixed response, in a legal context though. The police are seen as both villain and hero for the same reason – robbing Suni and his partner in crime Vijeesh of a chance to enjoy the legal shelter guaranteed by the Indian constitution.
Had Suni and his accomplice, accused of abducting and harassing a prominent actress in Kerala, surrendered before the additional chief judicial magistrate in Kochi as planned, they would have been left to the custody of an investigation officer after subjecting them to medical examination. This would have squandered the chance of the police to make use of their ‘techniques’ to wring out any crucial information related to the incident.
It is said that the police had received information about Suni and Vijeesh being spotted on M.G. Road in Kochi on their way to the court. But the police must have deliberately held off a bid to arrest them to forestall any possible dangers on a busy street. Or, they might have sensed that court would be the best place to surround and capture them.
The reasons are many, to believe that the arrests cannot be a drama. If it were, the police would have waited until the accused surrendered before the magistrate. The two were spotted in lawyers' robes, an apparent camouflage bid to give a slip to the police and the police could have easily turned a blind eye if they were in cahoots with the culprits.
The ACJM court usually commences at 11 am and continues till 1.30 pm before it breaks for lunch. But on that day (Thursday) the sitting in that particular court had ended earlier. There were other courts too functioning in the upper and the lower floors but they might not be have the jurisdiction to accept the surrender plea. Also, the lawyer who had prepared the surrender plea might have addressed it to the ACJM.
Or else, it would require a highly fictitious brain to fancy that the accused, the police, the magistrate and the defendants’ lawyer stage-managed the whole arrest sequence with clock-work precision.
At the same time, there is no room for chest-thumping by the police over the arrests. It happened quite inadvertently as the ACJM court was not in session when the two alleged felons surfaced there. Otherwise, it would have been a different tale altogether.
Now that the main culprits have been remanded in judicial custody, the two would enjoy all the indemnities assured by the tenets of human rights till the verdict is delivered or even beyond that. However, this case too will soon pass into the regular slot of the legal system which will take its own time to reach a judicious conclusion.
But what gives a crime, like the one meted out to the prominent actress, its devastating effect is the swiftness by which it is committed. The punishment of the offender, in contrast, is a long drawn out process, which in effect never matches the impact of the crime on the victim. Over the years, there has been a bevy of measures to curb the ill treatment of undertrials and convicts. Human rights watchdogs and other agencies have been on their toes to ensure that criminals and accused are not treated badly
There are rehabilitation programs to draw convicts and prisoners into the main stream. Those attempts are commendable. But, it is a pity that victims, after initial brouhaha, are a forgotten lot for the rest of their lives. No human rights agencies voice for their rehabilitation.
Crimes are getting deadlier but criminals find relief in the legal system. With no dip in the number of serious offenses in the country it's time to ponder over a massive overhaul of the law machinery that deals with crimes, criminals and the victims.
(The views expressed are personal)