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VIP Syndrome


What is it that entitles celebrities to challenge the law despite the fact that the price for getting caught is always higher for them? The latest example of this is ace Golfer Jyoti Randhawa, who has been nabbed poaching in a reserve forest. Is the example of Salman Khan not good enough, who has had to not only spend a fortune on lawyers, as well as had his life disrupted severely for a similar offence? Is it too much to expect that people of this kind would have a better sense of values after their wide exposure and extensive travel through the world? Every age has a particular abhorrence for certain crimes and poaching is one of them in the present one.
India’s elite often responds to certain crimes as though it doesn’t belong here and that these are committed by the uncouth, the uncultured and the uneducated, who require exposure to ‘first world’ best practices. It is incidents such as these that expose this hypocrisy. Anybody, irrespective of background and education, feels free to break the law if he or she believes they can get away with it. So, while lynch mobs and sexual crimes need to be condemned and acted against, there is a whole bunch of other illegality that also needs to be curbed, which the present day political environment does not focus on as much.
One of these, of course, is the culture of dishonesty, be it financial corruption, or expecting the system to swallow the most blatant lies. The legal system fails to act equally against the rich and poor, which is cause for many of India’s failures. Even the highest of judges have begun to concede that money can buy good lawyers who can successfully cushion one from the legal consequences of one’s actions. The make-believe of all being equal under the law is being finally torn to shreds. It is important, therefore, for the Judiciary, itself, to revamp the system to ensure that, either, the poor get the same privileges, regardless, or the rich and influential made to go through the same soul-sapping ‘processes’.
The sad truth is that, much like the gated housing societies, the powerful are building various kinds of enclaves for themselves that will ensure they get different treatment. It is just a question of keeping their hands on the various levers of power by any means possible. This ensures that human agency, at least, will never make them pay for their crimes. Till such time the common people wake up to this fact, things are unlikely to get any better.