Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee 30.12.18

Do something about our Justice Dispensing System
Recently I came across a letter to the editor in a local Odia newspaper asking the government to build new jails to accommodate the growing number of inmates of the existing jails, which are already overcrowded thus forcing the inmates to live in inhuman conditions. A large number of the inmates are under trials.
A quick google search revealed that in Odisha more than one and a hundred thousand criminal cases are pending in courts- some for more than a decade. In fact Odisha figured at 6th in the country when it comes to pendency of criminal cases for over a decade in subordinate courts.
The backlog of cases in the courts of our country are touching 3.3 crore cases. While 2.84 crore cases are pending in the subordinate courts, the backlog clogging the High Courts and Supreme Court (SC) is 43 lakh and 57,987 cases, respectively. According to National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), the five states which account for the highest pendency are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat.
Justice is one’s basic right. A speedy, fair and reasonably priced justice dispensing system, is necessary for a just society. But we do not have that.
Why is so? There are some well-known answers. Lack of adequate number of judges in courts. Less number of working days in Courts. The unnaturally lengthy and meandering legal procedure. Add to that the recent phenomena of lawyers stalling the court business. It is happening with alarming regularity all over the country. Take the example of Odisha. Lawyers in Odisha in 2018 have gone on strike and forced the court shut for over 90 working days. In Western Odisha, the situation is worse as the lawyers are on strike demanding a permanent bench in Western Odisha for a very long time. As a result the under trails are not even getting bail and languishing in jail putting more pressure on the already overstretched infrastructure. .
It creates another problem. It is a known fact that hardened criminals recruit rookies form the under-trial prisoners. Longer they stay in jail; greater are the chances of their being indoctrinated into criminal gangs.
Denial of fair justice is denial of one’s basic human right. If it continues to happen, people will lose faith on the justice dispensing system. Justice is the foundation on which modern society stands. Without that- the society will degenerate into lawlessness. We are fast heading towards that. Sooner we realise this and make some course correction- better for us and the country.
I often find young parents treating parenting like a competition. It seems they want to be the best parents by providing their children, what they think the children need or supposed to have.
They think they should buy the best new toys, admit them to the best schools, get them multiple tuitions, take all decisions that the child ought to take, guide them at every crossroads in their lives. They need to guard and guide their children at every step- better than all other parents.
Parenting is not a competition. Parenting is allowing the child to realise his/her full potential. Hold his/her hands, nudge if you may, but don’t push him or her. Don’t try to fulfill your dream through your child. Let him/her pursue his/her own dreams. Let him/her struggle, fall some times and get up on his/her own. That will make him/her stronger. Let him/her, like a plant grow. Don’t provide him shadow for longer than necessary. That will stunt his/her growth. Let him face and soak his/her share of sunshine and grow to his/her potential.
Perception of Fun
Come X-Mas or new year, and all the picnic spots are full of people. One finds families and young couples. These days I find groups of young men and women moving around with gay abandon. I also find them spending more time and energy in taking photographs of themselves with the river, hill, statue at the background. Most of them prefer to take selfie or wefie.
I am amazed at how mobile phones and selfie have become integral parts of any celebration. We prefer more to record ourselves being part of the celebration and to let others know that than to celebrate ourselves. That is the reason we take the photograph of the food in fancy restaurants and share before eating. At scenic spots we don’t see the scene in our naked eyes- we look at through view finders. In our eagerness to record and share we miss the fun and pleasure of actually looking at the scene. Or probably the concept of fun has undergone a drastic change.
Sri Aurobindo
Tens of millions of people including some top intellectuals across the world revere (there are quite a few detractors too) Sri Aurobindo for his inclusive philosophy of life and spiritual guidance. But few know that he was one of the great editors of India, though his tryst with mainstream newspapers was not long- less than two decades.
Three of the newspapers, with which Aurobindo Ghosh ( born August 15, 1872; who later turned into Rishi or Sage Aurobindo) was associated with shows the metamorphosis of an educated young man with revolutionary zeal into a sage, who delved deep into philosophical quest.
Yugantar (first published on 26 August 1907) was a revolutionary newspaper. It demanded absolute denial of the British rule and openly called for armed revolution to end the alien rule. It urged all Indians to join hands in opposing the foreign rule. The emblem of the paper included the symbols of two faiths, the trident and chakra of Hinduism and the crescent and sword of Islam.
Bande Mataram ( first published 6 August 1906), a daily that Aurobindo started with Bipin Chandra Pal had to keep within the letter of the law; its advocacy of freedom had to follow as far as possible the lines of peace, its path had to be that of passive resistance.
He started the English weekly Karmayogin (1909) after his release from the Sedition case. Unlike his earlier works of political nature, it concentrated on cultural and philosophical lines.
From 1909 onwards he gradually moved towards philosophy and went to French occupied Pondicherry (Puducherry, now). Eventually he turned a sage and began a completely different life.
Kantha is any day better than blanket.
And ghar ka khana is better than market.
(Kantha is a quilt made of old clothes, especially sarees)
Tailpiece: Kya Jamana Aya
Kya Zamana aya!
3 idiots
2 states
Dedh Ishqia
Ek Villian
Aur ab Zero
Mrinal Chatterjee a journalist-turned media academician lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He writes fiction and plays. With Snehasis Sur he has recently edited and published an anthology of lectures and essays on Mahatma Gandhi as a Journalist and Editor.

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