"Pachchas rupya do saab" (give me fifty rupees) demanded the autowallah as he dropped me outside the Delhi High Court. I didn’t haggle with him and handed over a 50 rupee note and walked to the Courtroom. Even though I have a car, I can’t come in it as the press knows my car and they will hound me like vultures surrounding a dead body. I walked as fast as I can so that I don’t want to get mobbed by anyone and settled in one end of the court clutching my bag closely.
"Today we will have the verdict for the case between Priyadarshini Vs Santosh" declared the judge. Priyadarshini. My dear daughter could have been a successful lawyer, a more-than-average-singer or an obedient wife and a nice mom. But what did she become? An objection of obsession of a psychopath who had stalked her for long, who one day ended her life after a gruesome rape and left her dead in a pool of blood. Every time the press and the court when ask me to repeat the details of the crime, it was like being hanged to death without any sentence.
The case has been in hearing for the past 10 years and it has been like 10 centuries. The worse day of my life was when in 1999, a court judge declared openly that he was acquitting the murderer even though he knew he was the culprit, because of lack of evidence. My whole world turned upside down. It was a blow on the face of justice. Worse was that the murderer Santosh cleared the Bar exam and is now a practicing Lawyer.
What makes these people commit such crimes? Is it the fact that our justice system has so many loopholes that even a dinosaur can walk out of it? Is it the support of their strong connections with powerful men in positions where anything and everything can be compromised? Don’t these senseless bastards think that the women to whom they do such gruesome acts are women as their own mothers or sisters?
The judge cleared his throat and brought me back to the shore from the sea of questions and doubts. "The trial judge acquitted the accused amazingly taking a perverse approach. It murdered justice and shocked judicial conscience. Santosh is found guilty of murder of Priyadarshini under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape)."
As he delivers his sentence, there is uproar in the room, but I would not hear it form sometime. Tears of joy flow down my eyes and it’s a sign of perseverance of the 10 years I spent to hear this verdict. I know that by hanging him dead I cannot bring my dear daughter back from dead. But why I need this verdict badly is to prevent more men from turning into maniacs as Santosh and stop women being victimized as my daughter.
As I leave the court I take my hands out of the bag that I was clutching. The press swarms up to hear my opinion on the verdict. "Finally justice has been delivered" I say plainly and leave the premises. I am happy that they didn’t make me use the gun I had in hidden in my bag as the very last resort.
P.S: Dedicated to Priyadarshini Mattoo. Finally Justice has been served.