Cases with court-monitored probe showed better outcome: SC judge

cases, probe, court monitor, Pehlu Khan lynching case, six accused acquitted, Kathua rape-murder case, Justice Dhananjaya Chandrachud, The Federal, English news website
Justice Chandrachud's remarks at the Indo-US Joint Summer Conference days after the death of social activist Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in the Elgar Parishad case in 2020. Photo: Twitter.

Cases in which the probe was being monitored by courts have shown a better outcome, Justice Dhananjaya Chandrachud has said, while making an observation regarding the acquittal of all the accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case.

“We see this repeatedly… This is one of the great torments of being a judge to have to decide on the basis of evidence as it stands,” the Supreme Court judge said at an event here on Saturday (August 18).

“And then you find the investigation by the police has been woefully inadequate either deliberately or just as a matter of incompetence, that it is going to result in acquittal,” he said when asked about the acquittals in the case.

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All six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case were acquitted last Wednesday (August 14) by a court in Rajasthan after getting the benefit of doubt due to “serious shortcomings” in the police probe.

“Cases where courts have been approached at an appropriate stage and have been able to monitor (the) investigation have perhaps shown better outcome,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Also read: Nobody killed Pehlu Khan, all six accused in lynching case acquitted

He cited the example of the Kathua rape-murder case, where the apex court had taken a number of steps to ensure the investigation was not “deflected”. The top court judge, however, added that there were limitations to the number of cases that could be monitored by courts.

Delivering a lecture on Imagining Freedom through Art, Justice Chandrachud said that freedom had become an avenue to spew venom on those who think, speak, eat, dress, and believe differently.

“The danger lies when freedom is suppressed – whether by the state, by the people or even by art itself,” he said. “Ironically, a globally-networked society has rendered us intolerant of those who don’t come conform.”

“We are facing a world of intolerance where art is suppressed, defaced or co-opted,” Justice Chandrachud said, adding that art grants a voice and narratives to the oppressed communities, and resists the majoritarian hegemony.

Also read: Life term for three in Kathua rape case; three accomplices get five years in prison

“Art invites us to explore the crevices of our mind, instigating self reflection on how we as individuals can make our society a better and kinder place,” he added.

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