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Cases Show Better Outcome When Courts Monitor Investigation: SC Judge on Pehlu Khan Case

All six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case were acquitted by a court in Rajasthan after getting benefit of doubt due to 'serious shortcomings' in the police probe.


Updated:August 18, 2019, 12:49 PM IST
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Mumbai: The cases in which 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 on Saturday.

"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.

All six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case were acquitted last Wednesday 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.

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 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 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 voice and narratives to the oppressed communities, and resists the majoritarian hegemony.

"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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