The title may give a food for thought for a thousand instances when media played a the Judge-Jury role but the recent verdict in Neeraj Grover case calls for urgent attention. Facts are known to all as 3 yrs ago, media made sure we get to watch the murder in “re-creation” on TV round the clock for few days.
Now, after the trial court Judge has given his verdict, there is an outcry that justice has not been done. The phrase is so misused that there is no other instance. Probably another example is when politicians say that they believe in judiciary.
How does a Judge do justice? She doesn’t have a magic wand. She has to apply her mind to the case at hand, the evidence on record, the submissions addressed by the counsels, the chargesheet and prosecution’s witnesses to come to a conclusion. In Neeraj Gover’s case, the Judge at the trial Court applied her mind, concluded that Maria Monica Susairaj was guilty of destroying the evidence but Emile Jerome is guilty of committing the act of murder.
The manner of destruction of evidence aside, it is still what it is–destruction of evidence. If Maria Susairaj–according to the judge–has committed the act of removing evidence, she was liable to serve time for that offense. If the trial itself went beyond that time which could have been her maximum period of detention, nothing, nothing should be read in between the lines.
If the trial would have ended in few months by a fast-track court, and the verdict remaining the same, she would have served more time. In this situation, she–already served the period of 3 years–was allowed to leave the jail.
What the media does not get, repeatedly, is that public sentiments does not guide or dictate court. The law takes its course by way of a process. The process, timely as it is, provides for appeals and more appeals. Once the matter reaches finality by the superior court, the media will never but we, on our own, should reach a closure and move on.
Tragic as it is for the family of Neeraj Grover who are seeing Maria Susairaj leave the prison, we should not be unmindful of the fact that media may ridicule a judgment without reading it–which many Peepli channels do always–the superior courts will re-examine the matter and may, may, alter the verdict.
My prayers are for the victim and his family. The only help they can get from TV–at the moment–is by switching it off.