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Munna Bhai deserves leniency
Granted Munna Bhai has committed a mistake; granted he deserves to be punished; but hasn’t he been punished already? In view of the extenuating circumstances explained hereunder, he deserves leniency. Does the law punish the goons who brandish guns?

MUNNA BHAI is definitely going to be a media-hyped and much talked-about chapter in the annals of Indian legal history. Even friends and fellow human beings, who desire Sanjay Dutt’s early acquittal, do not have much faith in the Indian judiciary. Of late, the judiciary, much like a demigod has been trying to punish him severely for a crime which can be forgiven for the sheer innocence of Dutt. Moreover, he has already suffered imprisonment for 18 months and has been through a 14-year long trial.


In fact, it is his celebrity status which tempted even the law to go for the overkill.  Sentencing a terrorist, a killer or even a corrupt politician will not earn as much popularity as sentencing Sanjay Dutt. A comeback man whether in reel or real life, he has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Yet, the truth is not what many of us know.


The fault of this man, if it is to be believed, was to possess a gun so he can project the macho image effectively; the police version has it that he did so to save his family during the Mumbai riots. Whatever the reason, as the police records state, he had a gun which he tried to destroy when the serial bomb blasts came to his knowledge. He did the same thing that a common man would have done under similar circumstances – after all, the gun was not licensed.


Just for possessing a gun he was branded a terrorist and it took 14 long years for the judiciary to prove that he is in fact not a terrorist. Police, specifically the CBI, tried to charge him to divert public attention. The home department traps some of the celebrities during a crisis to conceal their own failures. Anyway they know the case will drag on for years and the people will have forgotten the inefficiency, corruption and non-performance associated with the police department by then.


There is more to the implication of Sanjay Dutt than meets the eye. There is definitely political high-handedness behind it. The common man may not perceive it but he knows that Dutt has been framed in line with a hidden agenda, prepared by his enemies. Many fingers point at the saffron brigade which later on empathized with him because of the public support he received. His father’s status – he was a popular social worker and an ardent Congressman may have contributed to the damage to some extent.


One is not sure, who the enemy is, though.  In the present circumstances, even Munna Bhai would not like to name the person who ensured that he went behind bars.  It would seem childish. Anyway if possessing a gun without license is a severe crime, how goons and gangsters move about freely with a gun in India? Again it is not that our police are not aware of it. But can they nab them and put them behind bars? No, because if they do, the next day, the police or the judiciary will receive a threat stating that they stand to lose their kith and kin. Munna Bhai can do this in film, but not in real life, because he did not inherit such traits from his family. He could never imagine doing such things in his life even if he had a gun.


I very well remember a Supreme Court judge declining to hear a ‘disproportionate asset’ case against the then Chief Minister of U.P, Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Singh. The judge excused himself from the case because he had received a threat and was virtually in tears while speaking to the media about it.  Though protected by law he was too frightened to reveal the name of the caller. So even those who are not mighty and those who respect the law of the land are not spared. Munna Bhai and his family are true inheritors of Gandhian principles and they will never do such a thing in real life.


So, why the long arm of the law has trapped a man who is not a criminal? Law is meant to eliminate crime and not the criminal from our society. And, definitely Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal. Once again our law is proving that it is blind and treats the criminal and the innocent alike. It wants to demonstrate that it does not differentiate between a celebrity and a common man. This is good in spirit, but not god in practice. We should remember that law is meant for the welfare of society; society does not exist because of law. So, law has to take its course based on ground reality in individual cases and deliver the verdict. If law performs all the functions that a machine can perform, there is no need for human intervention in a court of law in the form of a judge.


At your house, if your son picks up a toy gun from amongst the various available toys, would you brand him a criminal?  This is the scenario that fits in with Sanjay Dutt’s action. Therefore, if he is branded a criminal and denied justice, we are concerned; our future is not in safe hands. We should worry now than worry later. Practically Munna Bhai lives in each one of us. Sometimes in our lives, each one of us likes to hold a gun in our hand, be it a toy gun or a non-functional gun. That is why many of us desire to join the Army or the police force. Many of us suppress our desire only because we choose some other vocation.


For a mistake committed, would you punish a sensible person severely or would you allow him to correct himself and turn over a new leaf? I think Dutt has been punished enough although for a wrong reason. I am sure, our law Pundits will differ with me but they should understand that law has to make a human being and not mar a human being.  I think in Sanjay Dutt’s case they are marring the human being in him. Before it gets too late, I would pray to Almighty to grant wisdom to the law enforcement agencies so they can provide justice in the true sense of the word, keeping the welfare of the human beings above everything else.


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In This Article
mulayam singh yadav
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