India has seen the Bombay Serial Blasts in 1993 in which it took 13 long years to nail the accused involved in the dreaded massacre, the plane hijacking of 1999, where due to the inability of our system, dreaded terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar had to be freed in exchange of passengers of the Air India plane held hostage by terrorists. The Parliament attack case in 2001 is just another example of the failure of our system. Inspite of being awarded death sentence in 2005, Afzal Guru’s mercy petition has been pending before the Hon President till today and it goes on.
November 26, 2008, the most terrifying dateline in Mumbai's history, also symbolises the beginning of yet another failure of our justice system. The night of the attack by a group of LeT terrorists in Mumbai, in which around 164 people lost their lives and the nation was held ransom by them for three days, is still struggling to find the daylight of justice. With the kind of five star treatment the sole surviving convict of that terror attack, Ajmal Amir Kasab, has been enjoying since his arrest, is a sheer mockery of our judicial system. In spite of being convicted by the Sessions Court and the Mumbai High Court, the government has been making all the efforts to keep Kasab safe and comfortable by providing him the best of the security and facilities.
Taking the case of Afzal Guru as a point of reference, Ajmal Kasab may well enjoy our hospitality for another 10 years and the most ridiculous fact being that all of his well-being would be taken care of by the tax payers of our country, in short, each one of us. A reward not at all deserving to a person who has killed many of our fellow brothers and sisters and three police officers of the Mumbai Police.
Rs 35 Cr alone has been spent on establishing infrastructure for the security of a convict like Kasab, who deserves the most cruel punishment. We fail to realise the very necessity of providing Kasab with such elaborate security? Is the government not sure of the arrangements at the prisons in our state that such huge expenditure has gone in for his security? Isn’t the government sending across a rather encouraging signal to the enemies of our nation to prompt more such attacks in future?
Similarly, the case of convict Afzal Guru is also one which we cannot neglect. The inordinate delay in the system in clearing the file of mercy petitions just shows how ignorantly careless our system is towards such important matters. Whether or not that chronology order or any other order remains or no in clearing the mercy petitions is not the question but the question is why can't there be a time limit in disposing off every mercy petition? Can’t Article 72 be amended to bring a time limit within which every mercy petition must be disposed? I think now is the time to bring an amendment to Article 72 of the Indian Constitution.
In the case of Afzal Guru, in around Feb 2011, Afzal Guru petitioned the Hon Supreme Court for seeking his transfer from Tihar jail to a jail closer to his home as his family members were finding it difficult to meet him due to their poor financial condition. If that is so, why hasn’t Afzal Guru till date petitioned the Hon President about the speedy disposal of his mercy petition? The answer is very clear that the longer it takes, the better it is for such 'anti' elements. We cannot let the anti-India elements take such wrong advantage of our system and hence it is our duty to secure the existing loopholes. Hence, we seek to bring together every citizen to make an effort to do his bit for strengthening our nation by strengthening our justice system through a movement, 'Article 72, It's Time to Change'.
This movement will petition the Hon Prime minister, the Hon President of India and the Hon Leader of Opposition to enact a law in Parliament whereby which every case pertaining to terrorist activities must be disposed in a time barred manner across the courts in India and Secondly That an amendment be carried out in the Article 72 of the Indian Constitution to make the entire process pertaining to clemency/mercy petition be time framed i.e. petition be disposed within 6 months from date of filing the mercy petition by the convicted criminal.
A movement like this requires just one tool to bring about the necessary change --- public support. It just needs you and me. So let's make this happen