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Human rights? ‘Terrorists are animals,we need animal rights’

A senior judge of Supreme Court strongly deplored how human rights activists carry out protests,if rights of terror suspects are violated.

Written by Tannu Sharma | New Delhi |
January 28, 2009 10:42:36 am

In a clear departure from the view taken by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on the checks and balances needed to tackle terrorism,a senior judge of the Supreme Court today strongly deplored “how human rights activists carry out protests and hold dharnas,if rights of terror suspects are violated.”

“We speak of upholding human rights. What we are worried is violation of the rights of terrorists,the people who kill innocent people with AK-47 and AK-56 on streets,” said Justice Arijit Pasayat. “He (a terrorist) is not fit to be called a human. He’s an animal so what is required is animal rights.”

Justice Pasayat,No 3 in the court by seniority,added: “Since he (terrorist) destroys the very basis of the citizen in this country…they have to be treated like terrorist and not like ordinary criminals.”

He was speaking on “Investigation and Prosecution of Offences relating to Terrorism” at a seminar organized here by the Indian Law Institute.

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Barely a month ago,Chief Justice Balakrishnan,at a meeting of international jurists,had strongly underlined the need to “ preserve the rule of law” while dealing with terrorism. “Adherence to the Constitutional principle of ‘substantive due process’ is an essential part of our collective response to terrorism,” he had said. Adding that “we must be careful not to trample upon constitutional principles such as ‘substantive due process’. This guarantee was read into the conception of ‘personal liberty’ under Article 21 of the Constitution of India by our Supreme Court.”

Earlier,Solicitor General G E Vahanvati called for fighting terrorism by non-conventional methods. “We would not be able to fight it by conventional methods,” he said,adding that after the Mumbai attacks,“it is time to show we also know how to fight and not just bark.”

Referring to Ajmal Amir Kasab,the lone terrorist caught alive after 26/11 attacks and the “noise” being made for his right to defence,the Solicitor General said,“I don’t agree with it. I don’t have faith in his case. Suppose if I am asked to represent Kasab,how would I do it,when I don’t have faith in his case…if a lawyer is unwilling to represent Kasab,he must not be forced to do so.”

He,too,contradicted the CJI who had said: “We must uphold the right to fair trial for all individuals,irrespective of how heinous their crimes may be. If we accept a dilution of this right,it will count as a moral loss against those who preach hatred and violence.”

Jurist Fali S Nariman called for tightening the criminal justice system to deal with terrorism. In a sharp comment on the political class,Nariman said,“while Home Minister and Law Minister are protected from terrorist offences,public is not. So any more pussy footing on terrorism is not accepted.”

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