When the court is merely a silent spectator - By Teesta Setalvad - IAMC
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When the court is merely a silent spectator – By Teesta Setalvad

On the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day, a strange verdict blotted India’s jurisprudential landscape. Rejecting the weak links in the process of collection of evidence during investigations – which included a video that was not forensically tested by the State’s prosecution but which clearly could identify the assailants of a 55-year-old cattle trader, Pehlu Khan – an Alwar court acquitted all six accused.

While there will undoubtedly be an appeal, serious questions on the conduct of the trial arise, given specific questions in criminal law that exist to ensure that courts must step in when the investigation is shoddy and the prosecution lacklustre; especially when issues relate to the administration of public justice.

Although this is certainly not the first time we have seen such a reluctance to punish those guilty of brute crimes, what makes this denial of justice starker is the prevalent political and social environment conducive to mob violence that surrounds us. India has seen a spiral in cases of lynchings over the past six years.…