Sub Logo

Dr K K Aggarwal

Sanjay Dutt tried his level best so that he could be pardoned by the Court, President or by the Governor. Even his producers have tried but failed.

I personally feel that under the law as there is a provision  for pardon, procedural terms and conditions should be clearly laid down, be transparent and fully advertised. The power of pardon is vested in the governor on the state subject, in the President for Union Subject, court marshals and death penalties (Articles 72-76).

Given that Sanjay’s case is under the Arms’ Act, it will fall under the President and not the governor (GV Ramaiya case 1974) who can grant this pardon or exculpate from the offence itself, or reduce the punishment to that already undergone. (Maru Ram 1980 case)

When deciding about a pardon, guidelines normally consider four aspects:

i.  Mercy

ii. That person deserves this on situations and circumstances – reformed character and role in the crime.

iii. Are there others similarly placed?

iv. Public policy (age, woman, long incarceration and public interest)

Why no guidelines have been framed so far because the Parliament fears that if guidelines are laid down, courts will begin to interfere.

Normally, in any legal cases inIndia, decisions come after years of legal battle which is an enough time for a person to reform and to do charitable activity to earn pardon. Sanjay Dutt’s contribution to the film industry cannot be ignored, especially his movies Munna Bhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munna Bhai. In both he tried to change the perception of the society but this may not be enough as he played in both the film as a character and not as a director/producer.

As a character, he was asked to do the role and that does not show that he himself believed in the roles he played. If I was Sanjay Dutt, during this period of trial, I would have committed my life by creating an NGO and worked for the welfare of the people who died in the Bombay Bomb Blast or would have created NGO and picked up a national campaign on any of the diseases or poverty reduction. I know Priay Dutt, his sister, is doing a lot of charitable activity under the Nargis Dutt Foundation, but Sanjay Dutt name publicly is not linked  with that campaign and charity.

The implications of Sanjay

Dutt case will also fall in the Salman Khan case of killing the rare breed of black deer. Ultimately, if the case is decided against him, Salman will also end up behind the bars. If I would have been him, I would have created  an NGO to work inIndiato prevent endangered species of animals to vanish from the country. I know the punishment of cutting a tree is to plant 100 trees, if Salman Khan could adopt a mini forest and help in breeding the same endangered species of black deer and in turn gives back India 100 such black deers, it will be easy for public to create a campaign in his favour to pardon if he is found guilty.

Some may argue this act would prove that he is guilty, that may not be true that one can come out by saying because I am implicated in such a case but I feel that these endangered species of animals should be protected and preserved.

If the law is clear that under Section 25 (1 A) of the arms act that after the possession of arms without license, there is a minimum punishment of five year imprisonment, then why a long trial. As I understand the role of a judge is to look for the mitigating circumstances at the time of crime.

The Supreme Court judges did use their discretion while giving the verdict by reducing the sentence of Sanjay Dutt from 6 to 5 years. Making this less than five years was not under the powers of Supreme Court of India.

“Section 25 (1 A) of the Arms Act states that if a person has in his possession a prohibited weapon without a licence, he shall be awarded punishment of not less than 5 years imprisonment and not more than 10 years”.

This mean the judges were convinced that the circumstances were not that he could be labeled as a criminal mentally, or a terrorist or had a link with them. In that case they could have given a sentence of not less than ten years. The very face the court reduced the sentence from 6 to 5 years means the court took a positive and lenient stand in his favor.

Only the President of India or the Governor can grant a pardon.

Article 161 in the constitution ofIndia1949 defines the power of Governor to grant pardons, etc, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.  The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.

Public is also supreme. The Public elects the government and government elects governors and the President of India. Both the governor and the President of India normally respect the sentiments of the people.

It is easy to say that the law should be equal and everybody should be punished but there are always grounds for a mercy. All of us make mistakes and seek pardon.

Even Bill Clinton was pardoned by the American society. Hanumana was also pardoned by Ravana when he went to Lanka as an envoy of Lord Rama.  He was not killed.

Nanavati was pardoned by the government when he was facing murder charges. Harbhajan Singh was pardoned by the society when he spoke in an abusive manner about Symonds, which was mistaken by the Australian as racial remark and under the cover of racial discrimination remark; his abuse to Symonds was totally forgotten by the community. The society forgave Phoolan Devi and elected her to the Parliament. In our day to day life, we always pardon our children when they use filthy abusive language, tease girls or other such actions.

I personally feel that everybody who wants to change and can show that he has changed should be given a special consideration and under the Constitution, if the case can be filed convincingly before the President of India or the Governor of the State, he or she should be pardoned.

Sanjay Dutt has already been in the jail for over 18 months and now considering that he has totally reformed, one should take it positively. He may be given a suspended sentence under which he may be allowed to live a free life, provided he does not break the Law of the Land for next 3 ½ years for which he is being sentenced. In case he breaks any Law during this period he may be liable to go to prison for the law that he breaks + 3 ½ years.

There are two types of suspended sentences. A judge may unconditionally discharge the defendant of all obligations and restraints. An unconditionally suspended sentence ends the court system’s involvement in the matter, and the defendant has no penalty.

 A Munich court recently handed an 18-month suspended sentence and a 200,000 Euro fine to former ForceIndiadriver Adrian Sutil after he was found guilty of injuring the chief executive of the then Renault Formula One team at a night club inChinalast year.

The purpose of giving punishment is to reform a person and as we all know Sanjay Dutt is already a reformed person so the very purpose of the punishment is defeated if he not pardoned.

This is my personal opinion and Vedic philosophy clearly talks that every personal opinion needs to be respected. Only if my opinion is agreed by 51% of my friends it will be called as a public opinion and 49% may still differ.