Stressing the need for better provisions to ensure speedy trial in rape and terrorism cases, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said street trials of perpetrators of such crimes was against the basic principles of the Constitution. His remarks came in the background of waves of protests that have rocked the country, especially New Delhi, following a horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student on December 16, that has led to many demanding the death penalty for the rapists.
“No matter how strongly you feel for what somebody has done, just condemn that person in street trials and execute that person then and this is not done,” Mr. Khurshid said, while addressing the audience at an award ceremony here.
“We cannot, we should not and we must not have street trials. And that statement also applies to media; you cannot have street trials, you can’t have media street trials. Let us all apply our minds to do something that is effective, that is immediate, something that will reassure public minds and emotions,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the function.
He said that while he was on his way to the function, he saw a silent march of people who were out to register their deepest concerns about the law and order situation, and what happened to the young woman fighting for her life. “Now I cannot tell you how much one feels for every such individual. I think that you would be inhuman if you could not feel for such individual. But my training, our understanding of the Indian Constitution and rule of law of governance tells us that you don’t have street trials.” the Minister said.
“I know that people ask several questions about why do you spend so much money to retain and keep in comfort a terrorist, because that is our system. Even Mahatma Gandhi’s murderers were put through a trial,” he said.