Is the law an ass ?
Certainly, if your sense of justice has to view the glass as half empty, your conclusion about the asinine aspect being predominant in the exercise of the law, even if the august exercise thereof is not actually blind, would be correct.
That the law is entrusted with arriving at truth, is also a given. There’s that wise old man Solomon who entrusted a baby claimed by two Moms, to the one who decided to forego the kid rather than have it halved like a loaf of bread, so a certain degree of wisdom is required in the exercise of law too. Latterly is the story, of a Pontius Pilate, who symbolically washed his hands of passing judgement, on a certain Jesus, who kept silent when asked to describe what is or is not truth, to be relegated to the crucifix, by the throaty mob.
As a kid, I read that a lie can get halfway round the world, before the truth can even get its boots on ( Mark Twain ) . That, fortunately or otherwise, was before the days of the glorious internet. Now, both just plain run parallel. And even if I rather think my own Uncle Gandhi was rather pompous in penning an autobiographical “Experiments” with oh-oh “Truth”, let’s face it, Truth is more a feeling, than some recitation of fact, as the silence of that Jesus corroborated some evidence of Truth.
In India, even if it’s not actually confusion worse confounded, they had Personal Law, Religious Law, Panchayat Law, and of course the hand-me-down law of the Civil, Constitutional and Criminal Judicial System that has district courts, high courts, and the Supreme One, which are to be executed in letter and spirit by the Law Enforcement Departments. Like in so many countries, the political and constitutional interpretations of the law do not always see eye-to-eye.
Among the many relegated to the dustbin of history in India, is the Shah Bano case. It had a head-on confrontation between the Muslim Personal Law, and the regular legal system. Simply put, Shah Bano, an aged lady, if I remember right, was divorced by her husband who married another, and when she claimed regular monthly maintenance as an indigent, from her husband, the Personal Law and Constitutional Law ran at cross-purposes. The political and legal machinery countrywide, actually ground to a halt on this story, and the press went to town for at least a year – luckily the electronic and visual media was not that rampant, else there would have been thousands of sore throats every day.
So as we call ourselves increasingly globalised, and the unevenness of the distribution of wealth, and the consumption of resources becomes ever-increasingly apparent, as also the truth of that half-naked Fakir’s statement that the world has enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed, it is equally necessary that the legal system crosses international boundaries, and especially those that are given to flaunting their superior practices in ensuring freedoms and justice to oppressed peoples across the world, should do so more promptly where they see that those who are well-endowed financially, crush those without a voice mercilessly, in such manner that nary a whimper of the cry of their soul may ever be heard as long as this planet lasts.
If the name Rizana Nafeek rings a bell in the mind of the reader who has had the patience to wade through this write up, to this point, I have to hand it to you ! That’s the name of the impecunious young girl from Sri Lanka, who got executed on 9th January this year, in Saudi Arabia, for the “murder” of a four-month old boy Naif, who she clearly said ( bayaan is the word in Urdu/Arabic, but who the shit cares ?) choked on the milk she fed him.
So let me choke now on Shakespeare’s words in Hamlet “Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark”
- Does new Saudi law truly empower the domestic worker? (thehindu.com)