Feb 14, 2017

Justice delayed

[Img: Hindu BL/Unknown] 
Time, someone explained to me long ago, is a very important factor when it comes to economics. Be it opportunity cost or the magic of compounding always watch the time factor, he told me. As I read up on the events unfolding in TN I ponder the impact of time in the delivery of justice. Simply put, the vast majority of people would have greeted the same judgment a certain way 20 years ago, a different way 5 months ago and are receiving it in a completely different way now. Not because of some collective capriciousness, but because of the tint brought on by events over the course of the trial.

Surely, justice delayed is justice denied. Then what do we make of a case like this?

As the late CM herself was wont to point out, no one could even charge her of corruption during her later terms. Perhaps she got better at covering the tracks. Or perhaps the Damocles sword of this verdict guided her to do real good. Either way, when the trial court judgment came, it didn't seem so straightforward for a lot of people. While the law moved in its majestic blindness, popular sentiment seemed to take into consideration her subsequent acts of remorse and repair. Likely amplified by the lack of a prominent victim. Did she deserve a long prison sentence, many asked. Seriously, it wasn't just the goon(da)s or the cult followers. Many of the ordinary folks that were interviewed in popular channels seemed to sympathize.  Those who welcomed it at the time seemed to mostly be from the opposition parties. As an aside, is that why they have a statute of limitations?

And now that Jayalalitha is no more, now that she will not suffer in prison, the popular sentiment again is in favor of a conviction. The fine would bring her property to the government. If Sasikala had not exhibited haste or what is perceived widely as improper, undeserved ambition I wonder what the public mood would have been? Would they have felt the same sympathy? Unfortunately, she chose a different path and we'd never know. Those who were willing to forgive one was not extending the forgiveness to the other. Most of the folks I speak to, even Amma's most ardent fans, seem perfectly comfortable with, seem even to welcome the verdict. The spin is already on by all the surrogates.

So we have a verdict that is, not only by a turn of events being hailed by the majority including the faithful but also being received with utmost joy for its timing.  For now at least, in this one instance, it does seem like justice delayed has made justice prevail. How strange!

February 14, 2017