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JUSTICE LOSES ITS CHARACTER IF IT BECOMES REVENGE (WITH REFERENCE TO HYDERABAD ENCOUNTER)

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Author: Arun Kumar Singh, II year of LL.B.(Hons.) from Lucknow University


“Law without justice is a wound without a cure”, “law is not law if it violates the principles of eternal justice”, “Justice is incidental to law and order” are some of the universal quotes composed by eminent scholars which highlight the importance of Justice, law and moreover morality dominates them.


The concept of justice is as old as the origin and growth of human society itself. The social nature of man demands that he must live peacefully in society. While living so, he experiences a conflict of interests and expects rightful conduct on the part of others. This is the reason why Salmond[i]and Roscoe Pound have emphasized the importance of justice in their definitions of Law. According to Blackstone, “Justice is a reservoir from where the concept of right, duty and equity evolves.”[ii]Justice means the fulfilment of the legitimate expectation of the individual under laws and to assure the benefit promised therein. It emphasizes on the concept of equality. It requires no discrimination should be made among the various members of society.


In B.P. Achala Anand v. S. Appi Reddy & Another[iii], the apex court emphasized on Cicero’s definition of justice that “Justice is the disposition of the human mind to render every one his due.”


The significance of justice is that it acts as an ointment on the wounds of the suppressed class of society. However, when this justice acquires the tendency of revenge it loses its basic components and turns into poison which distorts the whole system of the country.


They bring out the distinction between What is Justice? And What is revenge? In short, Justice is primarily a concept of morality. The Preamble makes the word 'Justice' when it gets added with social, economic and political justice. Legally, justice is related to law-making and the judicial system of the society. In other words, it means law should be just and there should be independent system justice. Law has not only to be reasonable but also equal for all. If the law is reasonable and just there, the law-making institutions should be rational and just. Independent judiciary holds power to judge the authorities rationality and legality of the law. It was all about justice but what about the law? What’s that? What if it doesn't exist?


In brief, in the words of Austin, “law is the command of the Sovereign". Laws are the rule of behaviour for a member of the state, the disregard of which meets with a penalty which will be enforced by the state's machinery.


This law and justice was actually and suddenly challenged in one of the cases of the illustrations –


Hyderabad Encounter - 27th November 2019

Newspapers screamed of horrible news that shook "We the people of India" that 26 years old veteran Dr. Priyanka Reddy was abducted, raped and burnt alive. Her carcass was discovered in Shadnagar[iv]that wretched our heart but soon on December 6 and 7, 2019, TVs, radios shouted of a mouth providing breaking news: All 4 bus suspects were gunned down at the same spot where they dumped the girl of India. The Chief VC Sajjanar said that the culprit tried to abandon and so they tried to attack but the police party was saved by shooting all. This news spread pleasure among all, there were candle marches, tribute was given, the commemoration was outraged but here, Justice Bobde during the inauguration of Rajasthan High court opened our eyes by throwing his sensible and golden comment-


"But I don't think justice must never take the form of revenge. I believe justice loses its character if it becomes revenge.

It was indeed true as killing 7% of the rapist and leaning 90% will not sort out our problem and after all legal maxim -


Actusneminifacit Injuriam[v]depicts that the act of law is not wrong.

The belief that society should be governed by law is exceptionable: The CJI's affirmation of this principle is a reminder that neither leaders nor society can sanction encounter killings. The criminal justice system may be flawed even slothful but that doesn't permit shortcuts like rendering instant justice with staged encounters. The CJI's voice of sanity amid the wide support for the Telangana police action celebrities, politicians and ministers have tried to pump up the public mood, marked by the baying for the blood of the rapist: Article 21 of the Constitution of India states quite clearly- "No person shall be deprived for his life or personal liberty except according to the procedures established by law”.


The police, the first point of contact for the victim, is a hamstring and not just a number. The will to act decisively is often missing, as the force is more accustomed to playing arbitrator than an enforcer. We hang our heads in shame at every rape but we do not seem to know what to do about it.

The acts of the police are doubtful from the beginning as the policemen were alleged of delaying the registration of F.I.R. in the case in connection with the “missing” of the veterinarian doctor after which three policemen were suspended for their misconduct. After the suspension, the police came into action and took the four accused to the crime scene for its recreation but till then the charge sheet had not been filed, the trial had not begun and the Court was yet to hear the accused and the prosecution. The police stated that two of the four accused snatched their arms and attacked them in order to escape when the police retaliated and killed the four accused in self-defence. But, it is not clear if the accused were capable - by means of being armed or something similar - to pose a threat to life or lives of the policemen who took them for recreating the crime scene. From the above act of the police, it might be inferred that the act of the police was not an act of self-defence but a pre-planned encounter case which was driven by the idea of taking revenge in the name of providing swift justice.


There is no law that sanctions the killing of an accused of any crime, including that of rape and murder. This forms the basis for a robust judicial system. The police is an investigating agency and not entitled to adjudicate cases pronouncing a verdict on someone's criminal culpability. Declaring someone guilty falls under the jurisdiction of the courts. This is a check on police's action lest they pick up and implicate people to bring closure to the case.


In People’s Union For Civil Liberties and Another v. State Of Maharashtra And Others[vi] it was held that it is the constitutional duty of Supreme Court to lay down guideline regarding the procedure to be adopted in police encounters because such police encounters affect the credibility of rule of law and the administration of criminal justice system.


In the Nirbhaya case, there is a delay in providing justice to the family member who was waiting for the execution of the convicts for more than seven years. This case proves that there is a loophole in the Judiciary. Due to this delay in execution, the people are losing their faith from the judicial system of the country. During the proceedings of this case, the Hyderabad incident happened which aggravated the anger of the public by adding fuel to the fire.

Due to delay in Nirbhaya case we are reminded of a saying by William Goldstone, “JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED.”


The statement by SP minister Mrs. Jaya Bachchan was that the four accused of rape and murder case be brought in front of public and they should be lynched by the public. This is of a nature of taking revenge from the accused who have not even been taken to the courtroom and declared convicts. These types of delay and statement take away the foundation of justice and make it look like revenge instead of avenge.

Many other cases such as Ayesha Meera Case of 2007[vii], at least there one innocent person would have got killed. Justice when turns to revenge, it creates revolutions, stress, suppression of certain honest, inhuman, uncultured, uncivilized, converts the state to evil, curtails liberty, false the truth - Man is not always the best judge of this interest, open competition is indestructible and undesirable, the doctrine of survival for the fittest get dangerous, give rise to alienation. To solve these registered complaints, free trials, open communication, police reformation to deal with cases and the foremost role of Judiciary can prevent justice from becoming the revenge. The Judiciary only holds the law, civil rights and guards the constitution. Interpreting in justice by injustice may bring a drastic change in situations from which we may suffer. Similarly, these same provisions also apply to Hyderabad encounter cases if they would have been followed, the Justice would have been justified. Since the Hyderabad encounter astonished everyone, so, here, we should need to give our contribution by supporting and helping our each and every sister, daughter, aunt and all for the future. It may be a very little contribution to look at but actually, it may prove to be the best one for preventing crimes like Nirbhaya Case, Unnao case and Hyderabad Case and so on. We all can decrease this number.

Justice plays a crucial role in the life of every individual. It not only affects the individual but also gets affected by the acts of the individual. The Hyderabad encounter appears to show how people’s restlessness can lead to lawlessness. Thomas Hobbes himself said that law should be able to keep the peace if not then the society owes nothing to it. If the present court and justice system cannot provide speedy trails, quick access to justice, the society does not owe a duty to believe that it is anything. We cannot blame society for this but the lagging justice system, lack of Judges and slow progression in courts. This happiness in the society for a fake encounter merely reflects this fact that the system is failing and taking the form of revenge.


At last, we can say that it is true that “justice loses its character if it becomes revenge". Since Hyderabad encounter astonished & deeply affected every mind, so, here, we would like to give Priyanka Reddy and all the daughters of the nation who faced such humour, a tribute by concluding this write up with some poetic lines in association to the disastrous catastrophe that proved to be fatal for her. We actually need some transformation in society.


When will 9 p.m. be just a number?

When will saree or shorts be just clothes?

When will talking to boys be just a friendship?

When will coming back late home be not an offence??

For Girls!!!! I repeat....... When???

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