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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 17, April 11, 2009

On Ajmal Kasab’s Trial

Sunday 12 April 2009, by S G Vombatkere



Every Indian is convinced that Kasab (Moha-mmad Ajmal Amir Iman) was one among the terrorists from Pakistan in the Mumbai 26/11 attack and was, fortunately for India but unfortunately for him, the only one captured alive. However, howsoever firm individual beliefs may be in this case, India as a civilised society cannot afford to have him sentenced without due process of law according to Article 21 of the Constitution concerning depriving any person of life or personal liberty. If we fail in this fundamental process, we shall be no different than the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, where a person accused of crime is summarily punished.

Due process of law requires that the Accused (Kasab remains “the Accused” until he is tried and convicted) is represented by a lawyer who functions as an officer of the Court. If he cannot afford or is otherwise unable to find a lawyer to represent him, the Court appoints a lawyer to do so. This is because the Accused has a right to justice under the Constitution, howsoever heinous his crime. Therefore, the attack on Ms Anjali Waghmare by Shiv Sena members because she agreed to represent Kasab in his trial is illegal, in contempt of the Constitution and the Court, and punishable; but worse, it also displays a mindset that resembles that of the Taliban, which is lack of the most elementary knowledge of civilised justice. It is a matter for astonishment that the government of the day has not taken action against the person(s) who directed the attack in addition to arresting the persons who actually attacked her.

Maj General S.G.Vombatkere, VSM (Retd)
- M.E (Struct), PhD (I.I.T), F.I.E (India), C.Eng
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