Justice…or is it?

By | July 31, 2007
The last of the sentences in the ’91 Mumbai Bomb blast case are out, and with this the curtains are drawn on an investigation that has lasted for over 10 years.

Today’s sentencing was the one probably most awaited. A sentence on which 100 crore Rs. were hanging in mid-air. And it did come, and it wasn’t very good. Sanjay Dutt was pronounced to serve a term of 6 years in jail( read the story here). Most of the country, and the film industry is in deep shock. But the question in everyone’s mind is, is this fair? Did Sanjay deserve this sentence, or is it too harsh?

Arms Act(1959) says, and I quote “Whoever has in his possession any arms or ammunition with intent to use the same for any unlawful purpose or to enable any other person to use the same for any unlawful purpose shall, whether such unlawful purpose has been carried into effect or not, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.” A glance at this law will tell you that the maximum term for an Arms Act violation is 7 years imprisonment. For a complete reading of the Arms Act, go here.

So from the law, the court has done its job correctly by awarding 6 yrs prison. But the question is, should good conduct have been considered for a lenient sentence? 6 years is a long time, and for a good actor like Sanju baba, his acting career might well be over till the time he is out of prison! At this point, just consider the offense. Possession of an AK-56 rifle, and then asking two people to destroy the rifle. AK-56, named as 56 after its year of production, has a magazine capacity of 30 bullets-each of which is a powerful 7.62mm calibre bullet that can be fired with a muzzle velocity of 735 m/s at a rate of ~600 rounds per minute (Data from wiki). In layman terms, a very powerful weapon, a killing machine that can unleash a wave of destruction. Why does a film star, knowing well that the weapon he has in his house is such a powerful tool of murder, agree to keep it? All we know is, he did. And that mistake is what lead to his conviction today.

What if it was someone else who had kept this weapon? Not Sanjay Dutt, but a common man, should he be sentenced the same? I bet that if it were a common man, the news wouldn’t even have made it to the last page of the newspaper, forget the TV channels.

The law will take its course, Mr. Dutt will file an appeal in the Supreme Court, and he might get a reprieve from this sentence. But is this harsh? Has the judge tried to set an example?

If he did, he most certainly succeeded at it! May God give Sanjay the courage to stand through these tough times, and prove to the world that tough times never last, tough people do! Always.

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