ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Withering Away of Due Process

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The police “encounter” of the four rape accused may have helped the police and the state of Telangana to earn some “credibility” to the latter. It, at the same time, seems to have assuaged the feeling of retribution for many, including the parents of the rape victim. However, it is also true that, at one end, such killings of the accused have created a sharp contradiction between the law-enforcing agency, the police, and the law-adjudicating institution, such as the judiciary. At another end, it has also blurred the distinction between a legislator and a political leader. Legislators are supposed to legislate on the contents of laws, keeping in mind the well-established procedures that are given in the Constitution. They are expected to draw the rationale for their actions and reactions from these constitutionally given procedures. They are supposed to cast their public expression within the frame of due process of law; a process in which the legislators participate in the creation of law. But, in the present case, some of the legislators seem to have undermined this due process of law. This was evident in some of the legislators’ reactions that hailed the instant killing of the four suspects of rape by the police.

Some of the legislators’ reactions, which fly in the face of constitutional morality, also suggest an inversion of the legislator into a partisan politician who, along with many members of “civil society,” chose to ride on a tide of emotions driven by the force of retribution. In the context of “hasty” police action, what one would have minimally expected from the legislator is respect at least for the simple, if not substantive, due process of law. In a simple procedure, one would have expected both the police and the legislators in question to follow adequate procedures that are part of due process of law. It is quite ironic that legislators, who took the oath of abiding by the Constitution, were seen undermining its very moral spirit. The propriety of police action, however, is less and less convincing, has become doubtful, and the constraints on police action become progressively weaker. Police action has been seen by many legal luminaries as an arbitrary step that has sought to bypass the due process of law.

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Updated On : 16th Dec, 2019

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