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Tuesday, November 07, 2006 

Death Sentence for Santosh Singh: Is it really fair?

Media has been hailed in the past few days for playing a vital role in getting Santosh Singh the death sentence. A verdict, which was based purely on circumstantial evidence and at the outset looks more like a sentence given to please the popular sentiment. I don't deny for a second that If he has committed the crime he deserves to be punished for killing Mattoo. But, ask yourself this question that has the crime been attributed to him positively. From my own understanding, the entire case has been based on circumstantial evidence that leaves room for speculation and certainly doubt to his guilt. So, does this “unproven” crime really fall under the rarest of rare category of criminal incidents? Ask yourself again, does Santosh Singh really deserve to be hanged??

It is ironical that just a few days ago, the same bench of judges, who have given Santosh the death sentence, gave gift of life to a man who brutally raped and murdered his 3 year old daughter. It cringes me to even think why a man would even think of committing a crime so brutal and repulsive in nature and that too without any provocation. The judges felt that though whatever he did was not right, yet the case was not considered to be “rarest of rare”! REALLY? What do they mean – it is more common in India for fathers to rape their baby-girls? Strange isnt it that a man who can rape this own 3 year old daughter is not a threat to the society against a man, who barring the Mattoo chapter in his life has been a law abiding citizen, a practising lawyer and who throughout the trial period has been extremely co-operative to say the least. I still can’t fathom the double standards being used by the court of law.

As I see it a one-time suspect on basis of "circumstantial" evidence is getting the death sentence .. highest punishment given in any country. While we have countless politicians and terrorists – repeat offenders to say the least, who are let loose and continue to be a menace to society.

My heart does go out to the family of the victim but at the same time I think a person deserves to die only and only if there is concrete evidence of guilt and the criminal is beyond any scope of reform. Does Santosh really fall in that category, I wonder ? Has he gone so far from society to bring only hatred and loath to one’s mind at his mention, I do not think so. There appears to be more than meets the eye here. He has been caught in a situation where the media has painted him and his background so badly that even if he tries really hard, he may not be able to prove his innocence. It is pertinent to note that the Judges while sentencing Santosh categorically said that death sentence has been awarded because he is a lawyer and is a danger to the society. Then how come in the past ten years no complaints were made about him when he struggled hard to settle back in society. His humane face was not considered when he was taking time out to help poor inmates who were lodged with him during his jail term.

Interestingly, media has been reporting only one side of the story. Shouldn’t media be neutral? We also have human rights activists who have been crying hoarse demanding clemency for the likes of proven terrorists. However, not even a squeak has been heard for Santosh ! Are they also media biased and follow double standards in advocating human rights?

All this is not to glorify the sentence given to him but to really think long and hard about the turn of events in the last few days. Being a democracy, every citizen has the right to voice his or her opinion and its incredible how the Indian society has taken it upon themselves to fight for the cause they believe in but is this the way to persuade the judiciary? The judiciary is the protector of the common man and therefore, their judgement should solely be based on what is right and not what may seem like the right thing to do. Because at the end of the day, each citizen deserves to be treated equally and in the same vein free from any bias and prejudice.
Do you think Santosh Singh deserves to be “HANGED TILL DEATH”?

The comparison between the rape case and this case does make one think about the validity of the judgement. Though I am not sure if I agree with your implication that the courts got swayed by public opinion or that the RDB effect had something to do with this decision. But overall a thought provoking post.

In the recent past there have been many high profile cases and the govt. wants to make an example out of one of them and Santosh it is.

My take is a rapist desrves death, 3 year old 30 year old is immaterial...santosh should realise that he is an educated responsible citizen of the country and when he does something like this, he is asking fro trouble...

RDB effect or not, i think that these so called children of important parentsshould conduct themselves well...but alas the bane of this country, too much money too fast, no proper upbringing, etc...

agree with puchi..it is indeed a thought provoking post!..
The media ofcourse has played a +ve role in the recent times..but as correctly pointed out..it doesn't seem to be too neutral..
And since public opinion is largely formed by what they read and watch..the media has to realise their responsibilty and act in a fair n just manner!!
Way to go ruch!..keep postinG!:)

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