Tuesday, 1 May, 2007

Organised Power of the State

I was taught (and used to teach) that the heavy burden of proof laid on prosecution in criminal cases was because the prosecution is the ``State'', with the ``might of organised power'' behind it. That was (and is) perfectly true and valid.

That that is one of the reasons I used to support, (at debates between us lawyers, law students and teaches) the diluted burden of proof in prosecutions for terrorist activities.

Not anymore. Guantanamo is only one reason.

The other is what we are hearing from Gujarat - a lady and her husband were burnt (for god knows what) in a fake encounter.

The Gujrat incident reminds me of the famous ``Rajan Case'' (see http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/14/stories/2006041415240400.htm and http://rediff.co.in/news/2000/jun/26george.htm) of the emergency era, when an engineering student was picked up, rolled using a heavy wooden rod used for de husking rice, and when he died, his body was burnt using sugar - so that it does not leave behind even the ashes.

It took a confession of one of the police officers involved to bring the final details to light.

These incidents emphasises that retaining the strict burden proof on the prosecution is required, even in prosecutions involving use of organised power of the criminal mafioso or terrorist against the state.