Delhi High Court judge, Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani at a book launch event said that the criminal justice system affects everyone but very few understand how it operates.
Justice Bhambhani, commenting on the accused's right to bail, said people often express surprise when some are granted bail by courts. He questioned how many really understand the concept and know about the restrictions that come with the grant of bail.
"So people often wonder when they read in the newspaper that 'oh this man killed somebody by an accident and he's been granted bail the very next day'. It is hard to understand that killing alone does not invite a lifetime. There are offences which are in law, by statute, bailable but how many of us understand that. People often wonder that this man has got bail, now he is footloose and fancy-free. It's fine. It's all over. He's on bail," said the judge.
Recalling his interaction with a lawyer during the hearing of a bail plea, Justice Bhambhani said:
"I dare say that not just laypersons but even legal practitioners are not clear about concepts. I recently had the occasion of hearing a central government standing counsel appearing in an SFIO matter, as always opposing the bail because rarely do we get to the main matter, but bail is what we hear every day. Who said to me: 'sir, chargesheet has been filed. This lady has been sent up for trial and, hold your breath, she said she's guilty'. I said, excuse me? Should we then bother with any trial or any appeals at all? Or should we just say that, you speak that she's guilty so she's guilty? Now, this was not a lapsus linguae I would say. This was the approach of many of us. It is the approach of many of us."
Justice Bhambhani further said that everyone may not require a deeper understanding of the justice system but there should be a clearer understanding.
"The criminal justice system affects everyone. And very few have any grasp or lucid understanding, whether specialists or laypersons alike, of how the criminal justice system operates. And as I always say, the true test of our entire legal system is the way, is the manner in which we treat the worst amongst us - the so called criminals; that is what defines a civilization as opposed to a barbaric system, where you're just hustled on to a city square and lynched in two day's flat, hoorah," he said.
Justice Bhambhani in his speech also said that he also wants to write a book but has not been able to do it far. "I must confess that I've been wanting to write a book. At present, I suffer from a certain temporary disability. My daughter has been prodding me to write a book but I can't as of now, I've not been able to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. But one day, I will write a book," he said,
Referring to American author Walter Lippmann's saying that "press does not tell us what to think. It tells us what to think about", Justice Bhambhani said the quote would apply equally to the author to a book.
"A book does not tell us what to think. It tells us what to think about. This diversity of views is what finally brings out the best view in society which is what is best for society. And again, Walter Lippmann, if I may quote him again. He says when all think alike, then no one is thinking," he added.
Justice Bhambhani concluded his speech with a couplet from Allama Iqbal's Bal e Jibril.
"This quote I noticed in a recent event that Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India attended in Bombay. He spoke there but this quote gives me goosebumps and I want to share it with you.It's Allama Iqbal, who says sitaron ke aage jahan aur bhi hai, abhi ishq ke imtihan aur bhi hain. Tu shahin hai parvaz hai kaam tera, tire samne asman aur bhi hai," he said.