Opinion » Lead

Updated: March 26, 2013 00:48 IST

This plot needs a new ending

Shanti Bhushan
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When the law says nothing done in the exercise of the right of private defence is an offence, it would be a travesty of justice to send Sanjay Dutt to jail

In Paragraph 70 of its judgment in Sanjay Dutt’s appeal, the Supreme Court has observed thus: “In the case of Sanjay Dutt, the Designated Court took a view on the basis of his own confession that the weapons were not acquired for any terrorist activity but they were acquired for self-defence, therefore, acquittal was recorded in respect of charge under Section 5 of TADA. We fully agree with the same.”

Not punishable

Section 96 of the Indian Penal Code provides: “Nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence.” Section 40 of the IPC provides that Chapter 4 of the code is applicable to not only offences punishable under IPC but also to offences punishable under other special laws like the Arms Act, 1949. Section 96, which has been extracted above, is in chapter 4 of the IPC. It is thus clear that if the weapons for the possession of which Sanjay Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act had been acquired for self-defence, their possession without a licence would not, on the findings of the Supreme Court, in itself constitute a punishable offence.

This important aspect of the matter has been completely overlooked by the Supreme Court and constitutes a clear error of law on the face of the judgment itself. A review of the judgment on this ground would clearly lie and should be allowed by the same bench of the Supreme Court to which it will go.

However, generally, the judges of the Supreme Court hesitate to accept that they have made a mistake even when they have made one. It is only really great and eminent judges who do not hesitate in accepting their own mistake because it is human to err.

In any case, even if the Bench rejects the review application, it would be open to Sanjay Dutt to file a curative petition, which right was evolved by the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Rupa Hurra’s case (2002 (4) SCC 388).

This curative petition can be filed only after the remedy of a review petition has been availed of and has been unsuccessful. According to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Hurra’s case, such a petition will not go before the same bench which had decided Sanjay Dutt’s case but will go before a larger bench which will have to include not only the Chief Justice of India but also the two senior most judges of the Supreme Court after the Chief Justice. It is this larger bench that will have to decide the curative petition. There is no reason to feel that when this new bench decides this question of law, which is so clear, it will not set aside the conviction and sentence of Sanjay Dutt.

The evidence in the case fully establishes that well before the Bombay blasts (12/03/1993), for which the entire trial had taken place, there had been serious riots in Bombay (December 1992-January 1993). Subsequent to the demolition of the Babri Masjid (06/12/1992), Muslims of Bombay were being targeted by the Shiv Sena and its mobs. The evidence further shows that Sanjay Dutt’s father, Sunil Dutt, and the whole family was helping to protect innocent Muslims being targeted by the Shiv Sena mobs. This had also occasioned an attack on Sunil Dutt himself (January 1993) for which he had written to the authorities.

Under real threat

It was evident that there was a clear danger of a mob attack on Sanjay Dutt and his family, including his parents. An attack by such a mob could not have been deterred except by the threat of an automatic weapon and it was for this very reason that Sanjay Dutt had agreed to acquire the automatic weapon, namely, the AK-56 Rifle (in mid-January 1993). It is also clear that no private person is ever granted a licence for acquiring an automatic weapon and therefore the only possible way for Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob attack was to acquire the automatic weapon through alternative channels, so long as the purpose of acquiring this automatic weapon was to defend his family from a mob attack, as both the designated court and the Supreme Court clearly found on the evidence recorded. This act of acquiring the possession of the automatic weapon would not constitute the offence as shown above from the relevant provisions of the IPC.

The relevant facts and circumstances in which Sanjay Dutt had to acquire the automatic weapon have been noticed in paragraph 74 of the judgment which is reproduced herein below:

“It was also contended from the side of the appellant that in the year 1992-93, the appellant and his family members were involved in helping people residing in riot affected areas, more particularly, Behrampada, predominantly having a Muslim population which was objectionable to a certain group of persons who were of the opinion that the Dutt family was sympathisers of only the Muslim community. In fact, this led to an attack on Sunil Dutt in January 1993, as well as threatening phone calls were being received at their residence, including threats to the family members being killed as well as the sisters of the appellant being kidnapped and raped. This led to a great and serious apprehension that an attack could be perpetrated upon the Dutt family in view of the fact that Shri Sunil Dutt had already been attacked. This apprehension was clearly set out in the letter of Shri Sunil Dutt to the then DCP of Zone VII dated 06.01.1993, wherein he asked for enhancing security arrangements further and for more police protection at his house as deposed by PW-219 in this case.”

It was in view of these circumstances that the Supreme Court reduced the sentence given to Sanjay Dutt from six years to five years as five years was the minimum prescribed term under Section 25(1A) for being in possession of an automatic weapon.

Honourable person

It is clear from the above facts that Sanjay Dutt is an honourable person who according to the Supreme Court had made a voluntary confession setting out all the facts and circumstances in which he had acquired the automatic weapon, the confession which the Supreme Court found to be voluntary and true and his conviction is also based on his own voluntary and truthful confession.

It would be a travesty of justice if such a person has to go to jail now merely because an important provision of law has been overlooked by the Supreme Court. Either the Supreme Court in a review or curative petition or any other constitutional authority which is entitled to grant him relief must do justice by making an order so that an honourable person like Sanjay Dutt does not have to suffer any more.

(Shanti Bhushan is a former Law Minister and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India)

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The logic given by author in the favour of Mr Sanjay Dutt do not hold water. Although he analysed and fabricated the para to para logic in establishing his innocence in the matter. Is this the only matter which requires attention. If Sanjay Duutt is given punish by the Supreme Court is on certain basis. In doutbt there was big mistake or blunder on the part of Sanjy Dutt to received AK-57 which highly dangerous weapon, used by the terroriests. Bomaby Serial blast was the result of terrorist activities that enfulged hundred of lives of innocnet people. Was Sanjay Dutt was not aware of such sensitivites? Had he lost the confidence in Police Admnistiration about his security. If he had any danger to this life he should have brought to the notice of the authority. Now, Everyone should respect the verdit of Supreme Court. Howeveer, Sanjay Dutt has rights for review petition etc. But unncessary hue & cry in the matter should be stopped.

from:  prem babu
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 17:05 IST

The defence used by Shanti Bhushan is used by any hoodlum and gun-
toting ministers and MLAs who think they need these toys for their
protection. And, pray what does Shanti Bhushan think, were the late
Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt going to do with unlicensed AK-56, grenades
and 9 mm automatics? Serve the ends of justice like they do in films?
To think this man is one of the founders of the "Aaam Aadmi" Party! I
am horrified, more so as someone who lost a family member in those
blasts and now see everyone rallying around a selective few because
they were "good".

from:  Sharad
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 16:41 IST

Advocate at large in the press ! .... so it was allright for him to
acquire weapons of 'mass protection' through 'alternative means' ... and
the alternative means was the D Company @ bro ...Splendid. Is he the
same worthy who was part of the Anna Hazare movement. A mockery of the
IPC and TADA and the law in general and its spirit ! Is national
interest and rule of law ever central to any discourse in this country

from:  shivi
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 16:19 IST

As a 24 year old all I can tell Mr.Santhibhushan is "grow up"...
if you think a person with family and 'money riding on him' in a
business(films) is not supposed to abide by laws, then I feel its time
to release all the criminals and culprits in jail because 99% of them
might have families

Also i think the writer should think about bailing out A.Raja aka
spectrum Raja and abusalem and accused in the nirbhaya case because
they all have families.

from:  chaithanya S
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 15:47 IST

When He has confirmed in the media, that he will not seek pardon or file
a review petition, then why are all hell bent to seek the
pardon for him. Sanjay Dutt must have spent sleepless nights after the
verdict and his conscience must also be biting, So he is not seeking or
asking for pardon. Let him complete full jail term, then he will be a
free man.

from:  Dhiren Shah
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 15:22 IST

Hats off to Mr. Shanti Bhushan. Yes, what he says is absolutely correct "When the law says nothing done in the exercise of the right of private defence is an offence, it would be a travesty of justice to send Sanjay Dutt to jail". Based on this principle, all the bonafide Indian Citizens should be provided with an automatic weapon for self-defence. It is said in the scriptures that there is nothing wrong in killing even a cow which is coming to kill you. There will be absolute peace in the country then. “Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanthu”. I wish Mahatma Gandhi is born again to save this country from disintegration.

from:  Kannan R
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 14:45 IST

For self defence ,Dutt didnt buy the weapon from a shop. In fact he
acquired from a dreaded gangster and his accomplices who were part of
mumbai blasts.

from:  Rajeev
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 14:15 IST

Such convoluted logic from Bhushan;as watrtight as a sieve. Is the law an ass or is the lawyer,one is left to wonder.

from:  acharya
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 14:13 IST

Sanjay Dutt has alreadyy served 18 months in prison. His conduct post release from prison has been good. Nothing will be achieved if he serves 3.5 years more in prison. Instead, he can serve symbolic 2 months in prison, and for the remaining 3 years 4 months he can be asked to share fifty percent of his earnings to a State / Country level charity fund.That will be a mmore balanced justice.

from:  Ravindra
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 14:09 IST

hahaha... what a preposterous reasoning - since the court has agreed
that the appellant acted in self defense, the court should overlook
the fact that the appellant acquired the weapons illegally! what
balderdash. it is quite clear after media scrutiny that sanjay dutt
just did not acted in self defence - for that purpose he should have
gone to his powerful father, or police. oh what did you say - police -
it was already deployed at his house whom the appellant dodged to get
the assault weapons. And for chris-sake, these were assault weapons,
not some teeny-weeny revolvers. and who supplied these guns - the
underworld. and the appellant supposedly did not know antecedents of
these guys - duh. it was a scandal that this guy got free of TADA
charges, now you want to get him scot free. some real servant of
justice you are mr SB.

from:  akumar
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 13:13 IST

“In the case of Sanjay Dutt, the Designated Court took a view on
the basis of his own confession that the weapons were not acquired
for any terrorist activity but they were acquired for self-
defence, therefore, acquittal was recorded in respect of charge
under Section 5 of TADA. We fully agree with the same.” How do
you agree with it Sirs? Just because he is rich and connected?
Why did SC not suspect shoddy investigations, cover up and favouring Sanjay Dutt? What about his connections with the under world? The whole 'system' is conspiring to let him off the hook? India is a Banana Republic. Show me the person I will show you the law.

from:  V.Salagame
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 12:14 IST

No Mr SB you got it wrong.
When police was posted at the residence of Mr. Dutt then Sanjay Dutt ought to have first sought the protection from the Police.or ask his father to get more security if he felt threatened, that also when Sunil Dutt was a MP.
Second the armed consignment that was taken out of the hidden cavity of the vehicle where he himself dodged the cops present then where does this argument hold water. Here Cops are present at duty & when he dodges them then he gets AK-47. AK-56 & hand grenades etc did he inform the cops present & where does this argument of self defence work here?
When the others had refused to get the hidden consignment opened up & delivered at their premises why did he allow it to be done in his house? Why he did not at any point of time inform his father as to what was being done at his house?
Had he informed the cops about the arms consignment, at least his father, the may be Mumbai serial blast may have had a different & was let off infact.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Mar 28, 2013 at 12:02 IST

On analyzing appropriate chapters,sections and previous acquittal, it is
clear that a curative/review petition would render "justice" to the
honourable Sanjay Dutt. So can people use weapons of any kind(even
nuclear)for self defense?. There is a greater possibility for the misuse
of law in future. We cannot deny the fact that Law always had "loop-
holes" as it was designed by human and it is common for human to err.

from:  Jayaraj Perumal
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 20:24 IST

Here, the argument for sanjay dutt's pardon falls flat on the face of counter reasonable logic. Code "Nothing which is done in the right of private defense is an offence" is taken absolutely and stretched conveniently to legalize, purchase and possess of grave arms by illegal means, when it is an offense under arms act, to protect Mr. SD and family from attacking mobs according to uncertain confessions by Mr. SD and dubious evidences. Arms that he got was part of consignment of things used in bombay serial blast establishes strong nexus between him and terrorists groups. And so this dangerous arms could've been got to kill other personal enemies of him or to kill sena mob member even before they attack Mr. SD family. Despite all of this, calling Mr. SD honorable man with false claims and Questioning the validity of verdict of supreme court on the basis of uncertain evidence for Mr. SD and improper interpretation of IPC sections proves the weakness in the argument by the author.

from:  Santhosh k
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 11:38 IST

At last someone who is in favour of granting pardon to Sanjay Dutt has made a legal point. Some of the excuses offered by prominent persons advocating pardon are totally outrageous. Points like "He has a family", "He has suffered a lot for 20 years","Bollywood will lose so much money ", are not good enough to warrant a pardon. These people are either blinded by their personal contacts with Mr. Dutt or are swayed by their affection towards his acting skills. That is why i say that this article provided a refreshing perspective. If Supreme Court has indeed made a mistake in pronouncing the judgement, it should carefully review the judgement. I am not advocating pardon for the actor, but if he is indeed pardoned, then it should be based on constructive points like these rather than based on his celebrity status. If the latter happens, then it would be a blow to the credibiliy of our Justice delivery system.

from:  Mukut Ray
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 11:03 IST

Stuff and nonsense Mr. Bhushan! Perhaps you have gone a little senile.
To try and cloak Sanjay Dutt's crime, his aiding and abetting of
terrorists, his hobnobbing with Dawood Ibrahim, India's arch terrorist,
and agreeing to hide an arms cache for him in innocent terms, you have
revealed yourself to be of dubious character.

from:  Rakesh
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 02:30 IST

I want to ask just one simple question from author, can i posses a
dangerous weapon like Ak-56 for self-defense and that too obtained
from terrorists? we never knew motives until crime is committed. The
policemen who have been sentenced can also claim the same. If sanjay
dutt is provided pardon or any leniency, it would be travesty of
justice and absolutely unfair with common people who got jail term
even for possessing swords. sanjay dutt has done grave mistake and law
has handed over punishment already with great leniency.
pls note that he was in close contact with terrorists.
I have great regard for the Hindu and it is my humble request from
editors not to print any such base-less and prejudiced article
condoning shameful act of high and mighty. I request the hindu to
launch a campaign against giving any further leniency to sanjay dutt.

from:  skandshiv Bahrdwaj
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 01:17 IST

I think Mr. Shanti Bhushan has given the answer to his own question.
In the third last paragraph where he states that "...five years was
the minimum prescribed term under Section 25(1A) for being in
possession of an automatic weapon..", so, the court has given the
punishment for Five years as per the law. So what is the reason of
making a statement that - "This plot needs a new ending", SC has
already done what the case deserved. Moreover, would he clarify about
the "alternative sources"(under real threat headline , Ist para) from
which SJ had acquired the AK56, as the "Alternative Sources" would
definitely belong a group involved in terrorist or unpeaceful

from:  Rohit Rai
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 00:38 IST

Well if this is the logic you present...the illegal arms act should
be one is cent percent safe..particularly the rich
builders,business men etc they should all keep weapons
without any license!!

from:  samaskaha
Posted on: Mar 27, 2013 at 00:31 IST

Quoting from the article:
"It is also clear that no private person is ever granted a licence for
acquiring an automatic weapon and therefore the only possible way for
Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob attack was to acquire
the automatic weapon through alternative channels"
There is no justification for breaking the law. If Dutt did not like the law of the land, he should've petitioned the government to have it amended - not look for a workaround ("alternative channels") to illegally acquire a weapon!

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 23:37 IST

Could have made a very good sarcastic article. He and Katju should start
a celebrity pardoning petition committee, and fight for new amendments
in the constitution to pardon celebrities.

from:  Sabari
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 23:04 IST

When law has taken its course nd highest court of land has granted its verdict then what is the need of spreading scepticism among masses

from:  Muzamil Reshi
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 23:04 IST

Illetrate Law Minister and the lawyer
We can understand the condition of the bar by referring to such poor understanding of the Lawyer.
Tomorrow If anyone keeps nuclear weapon,he will argue that do not send him to jail because it is in self-defence. Mr. Lawyer, do you understand the meaning of the word 'justice'. First go read some philosophers and get clear understanding of law, then come back and argue before 'WE THE PEOPLE'.

from:  Anu
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:52 IST

Section 96 of IPC is not unconditionally supreme. Section 96 is effective "during an act of an attack" and not under "the threat of an
Private defense deals with your response to an attack in that moment rather than your response to the threat of an attack.
Even if we accept,hypothetical, the point that Section 96 is applicable in this case, Section 99 of IPC states "There is no right of private defense in cases in which there is time to have recourse to protection of the public authorities."

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:50 IST

job of lawyer is to aid in delivery of justice not in delaying justice by twisted
facts and arguments. Major reason behind judicial delay is such arguments.
Mere perception that some one is in danger doesn't authorize him/her to
possess WMD.
secondly how did he acquire these weapons should have been investigated. under national security act and UAPA links with terrorists is an offence. our judicial system was lenient on this aspect. author missed this aspect.

from:  Dr. Remant Kumar
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:46 IST

This is getting ridiculous. To find out what happens to common people in Sanjay Dutt's position, google Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi. Her case is similar, but with two differences: (a) she was convicted under TADA for a far lesser offence (b) no one is asking for her to be pardoned.
How low do we sink when we make excuses for famous people?

from:  Ec Krishnaa
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:26 IST

This should have been settled in 1993 or latest by 1995. Public memory is fading in these cases. Why does it take 18-19 years to decide that Sanjay Dutt needs to be jailed for 5 years? The victims die, the culprits die, the witnesses forget or they die too, the main people who could have helped, Sunil Dutt & Bal Thackeray are also no more. But the court decides that he is a culprit now. In any case, it is a reinforcement of the establishment (his sister & MP Priya Dutt, Jaya Bachchan , Shanti Bhushan etc.) rallying around him to state that the law is different for the one with connections & quite another for the one without any connections. This is a weak defense from the ex law minister. & to think that somebody with this type of outlook held the position of a law minister, is really an eye opener for me!!

from:  Venkatesh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:25 IST

The Law is Ass, said Dickens. These lawyers can stretch the meaning of
words picked from here and there and give them strange, weird meanings.

A crime is a crime, whoever has done it. It is as simple as that.

from:  Veevip Sarathy
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 22:09 IST

a confusing article, although presented good argument in first
paragraph but last two sections seem biased. it is also unfortunate
that author who was a former law minister and also a senior advocate
of supreme court is arguing in favor of acquiring weapons illegally
for self-defense.
it is also disgusting that the author is regarding a convicted person
as honorable. i will also appeal to Hindu not to let this type of article to be

from:  anuapm swain
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 21:44 IST

Mr. Bushan: While it is difficult, for a mere layman such as I - to counter the legal point that you posit as the fulcrum of your argument, I find the foundation and the crown upon which you build your case to be porous.
If the speculative factor of the possibility of a mob attack is the foundation, then, sir, by your own logic, Mr. Dutt would have been within his rights to use the weapons in his defence. However, you seems to conveniently evade the darker fallout of such an act which is the possibility of "collateral damage." What if, indeed, Mr. Dutt had used the weapon and in the process killed, unintentionally, some neighbours. If the threat of a mob attack is taken as valid, then the possibility of unintentional killings must also be accounted for because the weapon was indeed in possession of man who intended to use it. And there is nothing on record to suggest that Mr. Dutt is a crack marksman and even with a AK-56, firing as it does 600 rounds per minute, he would have only hit the bad guys. This, unless we all are yet to be told that Mr. Dutt, in a stroke of remarkable brilliance, nailed the AK-56 to his front door as a talisman to ward off evil. And that it worked.
Further, sir, you go on, rather grandly and twice, that the defendant is an "honourable person." Of course, you are entitled to hold your opinions, but given that you present it in a manner which seems to be a pointer and lesson for Mr. Dutt's legal team to pursue, it compels questioning what exactly is the character of a man who is deemed to be "honourable." Is a mere voluntary confession good enough to draw that exalted accolade? I have a severe difference of opinion. Now, sir, if he were "honourable," at all, despite having acquired through "alternative channels" a military-grade assault weapon, would it not be expected of such a man to surrender the article when making his confession? But it is an established fact that the defendant destroyed the evidence. And, sir, as I think you will know, one would indulge in erasing any traces of wrong doing only when one fears that the truth will catch up. So, sir, might I ask, how is it that you consider a man who did just that to be" honourable?"

And sir, if you wouldn't mind my saying so - why should one believe that the police would not have got to him more sooner than later. It seems to be right to speculate that perhaps Mr. Dutt did know that eventually he would be exposed and caught, and knowing that the odds would not always be in his favour, he decided to confess. So... smart, he was, but honourable - now that that he certainly was not.
But this is not to say he is not honourable now. Only sir, that your logic seems quite weird to me.

from:  Sridhar S
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 21:38 IST

Mr Bhushan is lawyer for long enough to know the legal matters and not to question supreme court judgement. If he strngly felt Mr Dutt is innocent, he should have used his legal expertise to argue for Mr Dutt. Mr Sanjay Dutt had enough money to hire best lawres in the country to defend him. Once supreme court delivered its judgement, time for every one to accept and move on.

from:  manju Kalavala
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 21:30 IST

First when caught they say law will take its own course. Now Pardon. Why are we wasting time on investigations and judiciary? Shanti Bhushan it seems is not serious about AK56s in 1990s and people Mr Dutt interacted, if Mr Dutt has used his brain effectively he would have prevented Mumbai Blasts, going by Shanti Bhushan terrorists can claim we bought weapons and bombs for self defense and we don't know how the bombs went off our intention was not to explode but some how they exploded and we are not responsible.
We are told to respect Supreme Court, but these discussion on Mr Dutt instill fear among ordinary law abiding not so privileged citizens of India that there are laws for different strata of the society. It is a shameful and unrespectful to our constitution to discuss Supreme Court judgement like this in media. Mr Dutt as citizen has every right to appeal the verdict but I am shocked and disgusted by free counseling and advice in media from likes of Mr Bhushan and Mr Katju.

from:  prasbad
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 21:16 IST

The arguments put forward by Shanti Bhushan in terms of law are contradictory and
he is using those contradictions to prove his point right. As an eminent jurist it should not be correct for him to use these conflicts in law.
The other arguments like threat to family members and Honorable person put
forward by him are like a defense lawyer to Dutt and not convincing to equality
before law and seems they are inspired by Rajat Gupta’s case of internal trading in U.S.A.

from:  Sushanth
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 20:59 IST

This is the most absurd argument ever presented by anyone. Just a
simple question to SB : I also feel threatened and scared coz of
multiple terrorist attacks and all outfits keep of ranting about
attack on Indian Soil, so if i procure one illegal gun by illegal
means, will the same law apply to me...will you come to my defense in
SC without charging any amount ???

I would ask Hindu not to publish these kind of articles.

from:  Manoj
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 20:18 IST

Mr. Bhushan. Great sense of humor. A very nice sarcasm.

from:  SG
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 19:40 IST

"It was evident that there was a clear danger of a mob attack on Sanjay Dutt and his family, including his parents."
Evident to whom ?
"An attack by such a mob could not have been deterred except by the threat of an automatic weapon"
So did he post a full page ad in news papers about his acquisition? How is it a deterrant then?
"and it was for this very reason that Sanjay Dutt had agreed to acquire the automatic weapon, namely, the AK-56 Rifle"
"Has agreed to"? I hope it was sarcasm.
"It is also clear that no private person is ever granted a licence for acquiring an automatic weapon"
Yes..and for good reasons.
"and therefore the only possible way for Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob attack was to acquire the automatic weapon through alternative channels"
The exact alternative channels Mr.Dutt took recourse to were illegal and the punishment met out was because he broke law.
I stopped reading after this para.

from:  Siddhartha
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 19:32 IST

He will be free in a few months
law in this country is only to rule the poor not to govern its citizens .
there is a illution of justice in this country

from:  ajay
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 19:30 IST

Its rather sad that the bollywood the influential and politicians clamour for letting Sanjay Dutt free. Where were these people and have they ever come forward to compensate the injured, the disabaled, and those who lost their kith and kin. Have thee people established any business for those who lost their livelyhood. Sanjaydutt has not lost anything he was continuing to act and has earned lots of money. Did he come forward to help the injured. There cannot be one rule for the rich and one for the poor. Further in jail he will be treated with lots of care.

from:  ashok
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 19:05 IST

Some national TV media argued movie industry invested close to two hundred fifty crores on movies involving Mr. Dutt. They gambled and must face the consequences. Who is at fault for dragging the case ninteen years? Mr. Dutt? the Courts? Mr. Bushan,s arguement that one can acquire weapons on the pretext of self defence. It is beyond comrehenson what would happen to India if everyone feels threatened acquires weapons of mass destruction illegally. As law minister, Mr. Bushan could have made laws to protect people from mob action or passed law for people to own guns and not automatic weapons, for self defence. Automatic weapons such as AK-57 are dangerous in the hands of individuals such as Mr. Dutt. The weapons could very well end up in the hands of terrorists.

from:  vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 19:02 IST

A very typical article by a lawyer. This takes me back to the sixties
when I went to Delhi for the first time. There was a popular joke
running around.
A converstion overheard in the Delhi High Court cafetaria between a
lawyer and a waiter "Yahan Liar ke liye alag jagah nahin hai kya?"
(Don't you have a reserved area for lawyers?"). But when a Punjabi
guy speaks the word "Lawyer" it sounds like "Liar".

Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 18:57 IST

Et tu Bhushan?
I need to defend myself against such nonsensical arguments. Time to get
an AK...

from:  Singh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 18:15 IST

Taking a holistic view of the situation prevailing then, communal disturbance and Sanjay datt's family's vulnerability to communal outrage, it is pardonable that he acquired the weapons to anyhow protect his family. Any average citizen in his position would have done the same thing without, at that time, worrying about the legality, liscence or consequences. It was a question of life and death for him. Apex court has not found any evidence of his intention to use the weapons for any illegal activity in so far as it was accepted that he is not a torrorist. I agree fully with Mr. Shanti Bhushan. Perhaps this aspect of the case was not properly argued before the Supreme Court.

from:  Prof K C Mehta
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 17:57 IST

Argument raised by Mr Shanti Bhushan if accepted would be tantamount to
doing to all those who were killed and injured in the blast and it will
be against popular sentiment. Judiciary has already become very soft on
Sanjay dutt by his acquittal from TADA act and decreasing his sentence
by one year.
This shows intellectual class if allowed can justify highly
unjustifiable act.

from:  Pankaj Garg
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 15:26 IST

Today many politicians and law professionals are in support for Sanjay
Dutt and clamouring for showing mercy to him. The same thing happened
in the case of Delhi gang rape where every Indian demanded for capital
punishment. But that time the politicians were with the view that,
"Let the law do its work." Now the law is doing its work in the case
of Sanjay Dutt and doing everything possible to save him. It is clear
from this fact that privileged persons are above law and it is the
common man for whom every law is meant to be followed

from:  Akshay Dhadda
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 15:19 IST

Mr.Sanjay Datta got illegal arms like AK56 from such source whose creditibilty and complexity is well known. It warrant section 120B in the case and all charges are also applicable on Mr.Dutt. But he got so many sampathy and favour from the different end. SC judge in his verdict rightly awarded sentence. Although Mr.Dutta has every right to defend himself and take all possible steps but meaningless interpretation must be stopped as made in Mr.Bhusan writing.

Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 15:11 IST

"It is also clear that no private person is ever granted a licence
for acquiring an automatic weapon and therefore the only possible way
for Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob attack was to
acquire the automatic weapon through alternative channels, so long as
the purpose of acquiring this automatic weapon was to defend his
family from a mob attack, as both the designated court and the Supreme
Court clearly found on the evidence recorded. "
Most absurd argument ever heard! This means Mr Bhushan would have defended Sanjay Dutt even if he had killed somebody with this rifle. If this is the case even after the judgement, I wonder what the influence would have been on the judiciary before the judgement.

from:  Ramachandra
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 15:11 IST

This is preposterous.

from:  aditya
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 15:06 IST

The law cannot be right always, or above all. Whether its broken by any honorable person or by a normal citizen its the same. but we should really look in to the other side which is terrific to live in a fear of threat to family. If any concession to him can be given it should definitely be given.

from:  Ajay Chandran
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:47 IST

I want to defend my self, I need an AK 47 right now!! Oh wait, arms are
illegal to hold without license... duh! I wonder who was Sanjay Dutt
trying to defend himself from? an army of zombies? AK 47 are special
weapons that require special training to use, they are not run of the
mill hand guns. No one questions why you need AK 47 for self defense? I
am alarmed that The Hindu can publish such an article

from:  Balaji Sreenivas
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:36 IST

Would the same logic have been propagated by the media and the politicians for a economically challenged citizen of India? It is clearly being done for a private citizen who is MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS... Ashamed of the nepotism being glorified in our BANANA REPUBLIC... Ashamed of the Indian Press, the Indian political leaders, and the principles that Indian system displays...

from:  Amit
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:20 IST

what is the need police and the law&order administration if one takes
law into his/her own hands if mr .honorable according to bhushan sir
is paradoned it will be a worst precedent that have ever been in our
democracy and the same act will be mirrored by our goons by possessing
dreadful weapons this is a real threat to our democracy.every one is
equal before law .i wonder why all these so called rulers of our
democracy are running in favour of mr sanjaydutt is it the message
they want to convey to us that any so called honorable person can
behave against the rule of law then what is the need of our
constitution afterall we should respect our constitutional principles
in whatever situation we might be .

from:  ramya sree
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:16 IST

An absurd argument published. If it is accepted, then no person would be charged for holding weapons without License, as security is too bad for people, hence all persons would have entitlement to obtain modern & powerful weapons through alternate channels without license.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:15 IST

You too Shanti Bhusan! astonishing to see an eminent Lawyer like u
justifying the action of possessing an illegal automatic weapon and
also bought illegally from well known terrorist. A license to buy and
posses a fire arm is given only to protect one self and also his
family if need arises. As per your writing, this licensed fire arm
purchased legally may not be enough to protect one self and one can
illegally procure and possess automatic weapons to protect one self.U
say this is not against the law and u have the audacity to say that
judges have committed an error; is this not contempt of court's order?
I have a licensed fire arm to protect myself and my family and as per
u if i feel it is not adequate, can i buy an illegal automatic weapon
from an unauthorised person and will u fight for me to get me
absolved. Not able to reconcile when a person admired writes like
this. I must appreciate Hindu for carrying out this article. New
ending will be disastrous ending.

from:  srinivasan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 14:14 IST

absured argument by an eminent lawyer and pethatic use of media to justify a nefarious deed of an elite class citizen,
there is a famous maxim that ignorance of law is no excuse and so nothing can justify buying of AK 56 from underworld

from:  ajay srivastava
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 12:30 IST

a ridiculous explanation given by mr shanti bhushan . how can people
justify possession of illegal arms like AK-56 predominantly used by
terrorists and term it as an act of self defense. the arms were
acquired with association from the underworld and crime syndicate
which was a part of the bomb blast in mumbai.inspite of this if
people are made to believe that the person is innocent and had no
business with them is plainly absurd.It is a shame that a man (former
law minister and a senior advocate of supreme court) makes such
statements . and regrding justice the same case involved mrs
Zaibunissa Qazi whos is being tried under TADA for the possession of
differentiation shown. is it because MR Sanjay dutt is politically
backed or becuase of people like MR SHANTHI BHUSHAN who back him up
with their ridiculous articles.

from:  chinta nitin
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 12:17 IST

honorable person ??? right now in third marriage right.. i loved his
munnabhai and he did movie related to mahathma gandhi so it makes him
honorable.. god save the world...

from:  prabhu
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 12:12 IST

Mr. Shanti Bushan, have you ever appeared to defend the case of many others who go through the same hardship in their lives as you have appeared in the national daily like The Hindu to vouch for Sanjay Dutt. Why person like you of elite class do adopt such a dual approach? It is very sad that the Newspaper of such a repute agrees to make it appear in its prominent place of editorial page. It is nothing but sheer hypocrisy flying on the nation's face.

from:  Amitabh Anand
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 12:09 IST

This former Law Minister would not have written this article if I was the culprit under similar circumstances. So, if you are rich or famous a different interpretation of the clauses in the IPC should apply. Why this clamour for an actor's release? Why do these politicians not learn to treat all citizens in the same way? Then we complain about lack of order in society. I have nothing against Sanjay Dutt. He is probably a thorough geentleman. But the law has taken its course. Right or not so right, SUPREME court's decision should be implemented. Otherwise, one case after the other and soon we will have a situation where no high and mighty will fear the law. The Governor or anybody else must not order his release. Is Mr Shanti Bhushan in contempt of court? I am no lawer.

from:  Manjit Sahota UK
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 12:04 IST

It`s evident that the entire trial of Sanjay Dutt and the verdict was
partisan, a total farce. All those individuals who were responsible for
this farce must be tried and given exemplary punishment in a fast track
court, or else face the lynch mob.

from:  Shyamal
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:54 IST

It is so sad that a Persn of Mr.Shanti Bhushans stature thought fit
to write the piece.Why has he NOT indicated the REAL happening in this issue.Mr.Sunil Dutt and his family were given Police Protection and Government Staff from Police were deployed at their
house.IF at all Mr.Dutt needed weapons to protect himself and his family he could have applied and received Weapon Licenses like any
Law Abiding Citizens of the Country.Why Mr.Bhushan NOT recognizing the fact that there were Grenades also kept in the house for few
days.The intentions of keeping the Gun of high destructive capacity
falls through because NO WHERE It was mentioned that Mr.Dutt ever
tried to master the operation of such a Weapon and he KNEW he was
WRONG by getting his friend to take it out from his house to DESTROY EVIDENCE.The evidence released by the Police of his talk WITH the Underworld in 2002 MANY YEARS AFTER THE INCIDENT ALSO PROVE THAT THERE WAS NO MITIGATING EVIDENCES TO WARRANT CLEMENCY

from:  ajith kumar
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:54 IST

Whith respet to the author,I am not agreebal with the wivews expressed.Even assuming that the actor accused had kept the wepon for his,his family'protection but this actor accused had not put up right of his & his family'sprotection if he has raised such defence at the trial he was require to prove it but no such defence is raised.Even assuming that such defence ples is available and he may be justfying secure the weapon but what prevented him from obtaining a lince for possessing such weapon,under the Arms Act 1959.His conviction is for possessng fire arm with licence tht too in notified area.Has the author of his opinion any answer for this please do notmake he vilian as a nationl Hero.

from:  Anil.B.Naik
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:45 IST

Mr. Bhushan has gone ahead of himself with this article... First of all, I don't see any reason why a presumably Hindu mob would attack Sanjay Dutt. He was a Hindu himself and had not stayed aloof from the whole episode. Besides his dad Sunjay Dutt was friend of Balasaheb Thackeray.
The whole mob threat to him seems to be a ploy to rationalize his decision... One would have celebrated that the Indian judiciary won - it has not spared the big and rich.

from:  Milind
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:44 IST

Sir, Without going into legal intricacies, i would like to say that this
article shows that our elites think that there should be two set of laws
in country- one for the common man and another for the priveleged. It is
total negation of basic premises of "rule of law" and democracy, which
our constitution upholds.If we carry arguments of Shri Shanti Bhushan to
logical conclusion, then it means that everyone in our country can be
allowed to keep automatic weapons like Ak-47's,as long as they presume
that there is a threat to their life.

from:  kapil
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:41 IST

Did not expect this of people like Katju and Bhushan. Yes they are
entitled to their views but in this case repeated statements from such
powerful personalities will no doubt create pressure on the governor to
pardon Sanjay Dutt or at the very least reduce the quantum of
punishment. what with him being an "honorable" person and what not.

from:  Neha T
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:32 IST

This is one of the ugliest articles I have ever read in The Hindu. It clearly makes a point that Mr. Bhushan cannot be an unadulterated judge. The law is above all in this country. If cannot be biased by personality or stature.

from:  Vigny
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 11:28 IST

Whether Sanjay Dutt is given a pardon or not is another matter.
However, this article is unfortunate. So if my family is in perceived
danger, I should acquire illegal weapons to protect them because 'i
have no other way'? Please...spare us. Do we want to go the America
way - where illegal and legal weapons are killing innocent people by
the thousands? It is the state's duty to protect it's citizens; and
nowhere is it written that I can acquire illegal weapons (and use
them) to protect my family. Sad that someone like Shanti Bhushan can
write such things. If the Supreme Court said Sanjay dutt had no other
way to protect his family, then it is indeed sad for this country.
Let's all go back to the ways of the 'wild west' where each person
arms himself/herself to protect their family.

from:  lrao
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 10:27 IST

The facts brought out in the article are justifying,but it doesn't justifies questions like, do right to self-defence applies only for stars in india?Are these points not told and argued in the long trial of this case?
The bias that we show for a popular star only leave a common man to think of two parallel laws,One for common man and another for a popular stars.

from:  A.R.Venkatesh palani prabhu
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 10:24 IST

Honourable person should be abided by law.Aam aadmi is also not secure in the enviornment of terrorism it does not mean that every one should posses AK47 without having licence.Any activity of any individual which is cause of anarchism should be punishable on the ground of equality before law.

from:  anchal shandilya
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 10:24 IST

If there is a real threat to a person and his family by a mob and
if the Law does not permit to hold an assault weapon like AK-56
legally, then is it justifiable to buy a weapon illegally ?
IF SO . . . Will ANY individual, whose life or his & his families life is under threat of a mob, be allowed to buy a weapon illegally and go unpunished ?
IS THIS THE ADVISE OF " a former Law Minister and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India ? ? ? ".

from:  Rajeshwaran
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 10:19 IST

was not expecting such kind of farce from person of greate stature like Mr. Bhushan. Does he want to imply that any person who feel threating from the mob attack can go and aquire an automatic rifle by illegal mean? Then where will the law of land go if every tom dick and harry will start possing smugled automatic rifles, hand granade and will go over gaga about feeling unsafe? If Dutt was so scared about well being of his family has he given a written application for police protection? and even after considering writer point about family wellbeing can someone please explain what was the need of illegal rifle and grenade when he was already having 3 licenced guns ?In fact apex court has set an example by mean of this historic judgement that justice is very much above person or personality cult and should prevail at any cost.

from:  Amanat
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 10:17 IST

Right to private defence is allright.But what about the truck-load of
illegal weapons being downloaded in his house.Was he ignorant of the whole exercise?

Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:54 IST

I think in our country, our constitution has not kept special provision for special "honorable" persons. All are equal before the law... According to author, while he suspects the apex court being wrong in the case of Sunil Dutt, then whom can a common man believe, in this country?? As the author approves and defends it, for keeping automated weapon, then, if a terrorist or criminal make use of that provision what will be the solution and how will you control it? Having any type of weapons without license should not be entertained in any-way or in any circumstances in our nation...

from:  Venkatraman
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:48 IST

Very unfortunate article. It promotes the possession of banned and illegal weapons
from whatever source. it is promotion of anarchy!!!!!!

from:  harsh vardhan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:47 IST

"It was evident that there was a clear danger of a mob attack on
Sanjay Dutt and his family, including his parents. An attack by such
a mob could not have been deterred except by the threat of an
automatic weapon and it was for this very reason that Sanjay Dutt had
agreed to acquire the automatic weapon, namely, the AK-56 Rifle (in
mid-January 1993). It is also clear that no private person is ever
granted a licence for acquiring an automatic weapon and therefore the
only possible way for Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob
attack was to acquire the automatic weapon through alternative
This is what the ex- Law Minister states in the article. What about
the Grenades which are mentioned in various reports. Was the actor
and his family preparing to defend his family with 3 assault rifles
and grenades?
A request is made to the Police to provide additional protection to the family and then the procurement of illegal arms, illegally. Thanks for providing the logic.

from:  Sundar
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:43 IST

"It is thus clear that if the weapons for the possession of which Sanjay Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act had been acquired for self-defence, their possession without a licence would not, on the findings of the Supreme Court, in itself constitute a punishable offence."
Dear Sir, If I am to decide threat perception for myself regarding ownership of
banned weapons like AK-47, AK-56 then what for the licensing agencies (and in
case of rejection of licence, the Courts) are!!!!
Sir you being one of the most respected advocate should avoid the propagation
banned illegal weapons from whatever source and in this case from anti

from:  Harsh Vardhan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:41 IST

The justification of possession of illegal weapons by Sanjay Dutt in
name of self defense is a double edged sword in my opinion. Consider
the case of Gujarat riots. Would it be justified if Muslim families in
Gujarat acquire automatic weapons in the name of self defense.
Moreover how does one determine whether automatic weapons are needed
for self defense or semi-automatic weapons will serve the purpose.
The efforts of Dutt family to protect Muslims are indeed commendable
but law should not take into account the number or quality of good
deeds vs bad deeds. Let these things be taken care by the governor
when Sanjay Dutt's petition comes to him.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:38 IST

It is completely inconceivable that the guy is ever going to see the inside of a jail cell again, so you can spare your breath, or perhaps put it in the service of one of the innumereable Indians who are hopelessly rotting in jail thanks to injustices inconceivably more outrageous than anything anyone can dream up as an excuse for an "honourable person" like Sanjay Dutt. But they wouldn't be worth the effort, would they.

from:  Ashu
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:36 IST

Going through this logic every body is allowed to keep AK 47 in their
home why not open sell in market as we are daily suffering through
threat of terrorist who may target any Indian any time. In fact GOI
should provide subsidiary on these AUTOMATIC gun like AK 47 and 56 as I
am not sure when my hotel room will be bombed and attacked.

from:  Kosamia
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:36 IST

"It would be a travesty of " law if a person can acquire a AK47 assault rifle for personal protection. If possessing an assault rifle by Mr. Sanjay Dutta is not crime, all of us as Indian citizen can possess atleast a gun for self defence. Moreover he has aquired the guns from terrorists/underworld dons. Furhter, he knew very well that he had doen a grious illegal activity and had tried to destry the rifle.
As per his father or family, he had not discussed the matter with father. If he is not punished then half of the criminal activites will justify for pardon.

from:  Somnath
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:35 IST

So, Mr. Shanti Bhushan also has joined the Sanjay Dutt bandwagon! That too based misinterpretation of SC judgment. Anyone possessing illegal arms can claim that it was procured in self-defense and if this defense is acceptable under the Arms Act, the very Act is rendered redundant! Why didn't he inform the Police about sale of illegal arms by Abu Salem? That could have led the police to catch the illegal arms shipments, preventing the Mumbai blasts. Though Dutt may not have been involved directly in terrorism, he is an accessory after the fact and should have been convicted under TADA. The trial court erred in absolving him of TADA charges. If an ordinary Muslim acquired such a gun, he would have got life imprisonment under TADA. If he was so innocent of crime under Arms Act, why did he destroy the Gun? Destroying evidence is also a crime. Sanjay Dutt was let off lightly by Trial Court and SC and doesn't deserve any mercy. And there is no legal error in his conviction under Arms Act.

from:  V.K.Venugopal
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:33 IST

Superbly articulated article with plethora of data along with date and facts. Rather than talking vaguely about this topic, this article giving all required facts and figures. If all facts are correct then it is giving a unbiased solution.

from:  Vineet
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:27 IST

I think apart from being an astute lawyer Mr Bhushan is also clever
politician. He showed one part of the story while suppressed others.
He said,"It is also clear that no private person is ever granted a
licence for acquiring an automatic weapon and therefore the only possible way for Sanjay Dutt to protect his family against a mob attack was to acquire the automatic weapon through ALTERNATE CHANNELS". But he fails to tell us that who were those "alternate channels", the very people who were directly involved in the Bombay blast. If the celebrity son of a powerful MP who belongs to a party which was in power in state and center at that time, feels so much helpless and acquire 4 AK-56, 200 ammunition, 20 hand granades from terrorists (when he had 3 licensed weapons already) for his family
"protection", then i will say that writer of article is in complete
mess and overlooking the reality.

from:  Vineet Kumar Singh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 09:16 IST

I read your article, but I do not agree with you on this point. even
though nothing done in self defence constitutes as an offence, Sanjay
Dutt was not under attack when he had the weapon, only threatened
(allegedly). I am sure a lawyer like you would know that even for self
defence, one cannot use excessive force than what is required. I do
not understand on what basis you make the assertion that "An attack
by such a mob could not have been deterred except by the threat of an
automatic weapon", when even our police force does not use automatic
weapons to disperse a violent mob. I think you are just making up
assumptions for Sanjay Dutt's cause.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:52 IST

Thank you Mr. Bhushan for the blinding loophole in the law. I have two
a. The timing of this masterpiece is extremely unfortunate - what about so many people who are already in jail under the Arms Act, 1959.
Did they not say 'self-defence' as well (I realise that the eminence is important - but I'm sure it might have been in at least one case before this). That this comes at a time when our Bollywood Gandhi is going to prison seems nothing less than a desperate attempt to gasp for some air, no matter how weak/strong the 'logic' in law. I am not sure what this says for a former Law Minister and Senior Advocate of our highest Court. Legality is being stretched to include Dutt's case.
b. I cannot help see the sliding scale of carrying arms for one's private defence. Does this not imply that our society is leaning towards the US, to such a scary level that it is okay to have a weapon without license for the sake of self defence. Surely, there is something very wrong about this.

from:  Alex V
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:52 IST

This type of media management would not serve any purpose. Tomorrow, in the name of right of private defnce every joker on the street will acquire an ak rifle. The writer has never written about the right of private defence of the crpf jawans who are being stoned by the "peaceful" protesters in kashmir.

from:  Ravi R. Sinha
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:49 IST

I used to wonder the capacity of our people to argue from either side.
By nature, some professions are like that. Only you should be wealthy
enough to have such people's service.Like films, media the capacity to
make belief, these professionals have. Politics is another area, even
though people do not buy every argument, agree in silence. So in our
country, everyone, politicians, rich people, businessmen, real estate
people and all those who have competitors / possible threats can own
arms and even private army for their self defence. Fine.

from:  Gopalan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:47 IST

Dear Shanti Bhushan Sir,
I revere you for what you are!
Please don't stoop down to protect someone who doesn't deserve to be protected.
The Section 96 of the Indian Penal Code is applicable when the act has been committed. In this case there is no act committed by the defendant but would have been if he/his family was attacked.
So applying that section to waive off the transgressions of arms act wouldn't apply. Now the statement that the arms were acquired to protect himself which is part of the confession - how sure are we that he is not lying? Maybe he was lying because he was coached to lie by his lawyers. How can you of all rely on a statement he made to escape with minimum punishment. May be he was holding the arms for some unscrupulous elements or he is protecting someone across the border. So, you cannot rely 100% on the confession to absolve him of the crime. The benefit of doubt should go against him & the judges of the honorable court are right in what they did.

from:  Harsh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:44 IST

I hope what ever you have written was sarcasm...I might store a ak-56 for self-defence, but you will not write and article in my defence as I am not a movie star.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:28 IST

Also the hype by some elite media houses regarding Justice Katju's so-
called selective approach to get pardon for Sanjay Dutt is amusing
especially when the TV media itself ignores so many major issues that
affect the nation and takes up only the ones which create sensation
across the nation. Delhi gang rape coverage is one example -- why cover
only one case with so much enthusiasm and not cover others?

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:22 IST

To call Sanjay Dutt " a honourable man" by a lawyer in the Anna Hazare/Kejriwal wagon speaks volumes on double standards and dubious outlook.In fact the whole article smacks contempt for Indian judiciary.Possession of a lethal weapon with out permission is against law.The Hon.Courts look into all aspects of the criminal and criminal acts.A drug addict treated for deaddiction in USA;depressed many times due to family tragedies and so on would have been considered.The much respected THE HINDU wasted half of front page to bring story of a village mourning for the "criminal".Stories are penned by professionals , pages are purchased and sympathy wave created.Hundreds of victims and their families are kept orphaned.The Nation is painted a laughing stock.Any interference in execution of law and verdict will only breed more criminals.Talents of the actor can be still used by eligible and lawful bails.Let law be held supreme.Hon.Governor may not be coarced.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:20 IST

The entire issue is being trivialised by labelling it as a 'celebrity
case' overlooking the above facts of the case.
Some people especially Mumbai Police officers say very furiously in TV Studios that it will set a bad precedent if Sanjay Dutt is pardoned and ask what message it will send out. Why did these officers did nothing to bring to justice those within police, politicians and their goons who killed Muslims indiscriminately just a few months before the blasts -- what message is that inaction supposed to send to the
minorities? Some like Arnab Goswami(Times Now) have started questioning the trial itself regarding the dropping of TADA charges -- when Supreme Court verdict is fair, then why discuss the way the prosecution and the defence conducted themselves? The same people had said a few weeks ago that the Supreme Court's verdict is absolutely fair and refused to look into the dubious evidence produced by prosecution and the utterly pathetic defence that Afzal Guru was provided.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:19 IST

Section 102 of the Indian Penal Code provides that the right of
private defence of the body commences as soon as a reasonable
apprehension of danger to the body arises from an attempt or threat to
commit the offence though the offence may not have been committed; and
it continues as long as such apprehension of danger to the body
However, the following limitations have been set upon by the Courts on
the right of private defence of person or property:
a) that if there is sufficient time for recourse to public authorities, the right to private defence is not available;b)that more harm than that is necessary should not be caused; c)that there must be reasonable apprehension of death or grievous hurt or hurt to the person or damage to the property concerned.
In the case of Jai Dev v. The State of Punjab, AIR 1963 SC 612,
Justice Gajendragadkar specifically held that a person has every right to stand on his own ground and defend himself if there is no time to have recourse to official help. Also, in the case of Rajesh Kumar v. Dharamvir and Ors., AIR 1997 SC 3769, the Court observed that Section 96 of the Indian Penal Code provides that nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence and the fascicle of Sections 97 to 106 thereof lays down the extent and limitation of such right. From a plain reading of the above Sections it is manifest that such a right
can be exercised only to repel unlawful aggression and not to retaliate. To put it differently, the right is one of defence and not of requital or reprisal.
Thus, the right to private defence as can be understood clearly can be exercised only to prevent unlawful aggression if there is not sufficient time to seek recourse to public authorities. Moreover, such right cannot be exercised to retaliate, that is, a person under apprehension of a probable attack sometime in the future cannot become an aggressor under the garb of private defence.
To take our argument further, the right of private defence as linked with the Arms Act, 1949 as per Section 40 of the Indian Penal Code ought not to be confused with a right to possess arms which are required by law to be licensed. It is a distinct offence and co-relating the same shall not help for if that is done, lethal arms in the hands of common men shall become a common sight which is certainly
not a desirable situation.

from:  Yashasvi Singh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 08:01 IST

Can these eminent lawyers look at all the judgements delivered with human error as stated by the author. As a country people we should abide by the verdict prounced by the court. Instead of hindu wasting time on one such matter can focuss on other issue facing this country. If we give mileage to such story we are inclined to think that rich and poor in this country have different justice system.
If it is such an important verdict let the lawyers discuss in their bar councils and forums and conclude. We should take this case out of public domain.

from:  Rajesh kumar n
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 07:40 IST

AK56 for personal security!!!!!

from:  Neeraj
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 07:38 IST

Quick. Somebody get Mr Saraswat on the line. We can all put in pre-
orders for the Sagarika missile. You know, for self-defense.

from:  Sriram
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 07:22 IST

One can very well understand this article but the appeals made by several others
invoking the gandhigiri model of dutt. Here shanthi bhushan has focused on the legal rather than emotional angle. Now coming to pardon it is possible the cobstitutional authorities could factor in this self defence angle.but they may not be right in holding that sc had missed it and therefore conviction was wrong. So right course may be for dutt to move sc urgently wihthin the 4 weeks for review/curative and then if need be invoke the pardon route.this alone would be the legalky permissible course rather than relying on good man-bad man status.

from:  n vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 07:02 IST

I am glad the Supreme Court bench is more enlightened than Mr Shanti Bhushan.

from:  A Jetti
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 06:43 IST

This is a typical example of misdirected talent serving the
rich/famous. Can Shanti Bhushan explain what is his definition of
'honorable' person is? Is it the person with drug addiction record? Or
the person with established links with underworld, gangsters and
terrorists? If the assault weapons like AK56 were acquired for 'self
defense', can Mr Bhushan explain the need for Sanjay to burn and
destroy them? However legal his arguments may appear, they hardly
carry, what The Hindu rightly points out,any morality. Can Shanti Bhushan give any example of defending the poor people who actually deserved justice, unlike Sanjay who deserves punishment? Already conviction rate is low for famous/rich Indian. Misdirected talents like Bhushan and/or Jethmalani can further help them to get acquittals even after convictions. Who knows, they must be getting paid heavily
to utilize their talent in public fora also to create such atmosphere. Extremely unfortunate for India and common man.

from:  Vikram Rajapure
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 06:38 IST

The argument by Mr. Bhushan is downright ludicrous. We are many a times involved in skirmish with our neighbors and I feel threatened a few times of goons coming and hitting me. Does that mean, I start looking for Kalashnikov through "alternate" means.
This one might seem trivial. But by this argument then , all the Pundits of the Valley , all Sikhs of Delhi, all the Muslims of Gujarat, all the Christians of Karnataka should have looked for sources of AKs. All the women working late nights, all the SC/STs intimidated by higher castes , all the political party workers , all the northerns in Mumbai, all the North-easterners in various parts of India, everyone should assert for 47s and 56s.
Whats say Mr. Bhushan !!!!!

from:  Arkit
Posted on: Mar 26, 2013 at 05:54 IST
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