Frugal Justice

How often will we get to read ‘Justice delayed is justice denied‘ in several decade old judicial cases articles that appear in newspaper and magazines? How often a case like Aarushi Talwar, Jessica Lall, Nitish Katara, Ruchika Mehrotra,  Priyadarshini Mattoo and many other will grab limelight due to public outcry.

When ever I have read these cases one case has always come back to haunt me. I first read about this case probably in 1998 (I was in junior high) and it shocked me completely. Not because of its sheer brutality or the sadness that it endowed upon me but because of the fact that justice was given but it was frugal. She was clearly forgotten just because back then there were no candle march supports or innumerable 24×7 news channel to take up this case as a constant ticker on their prime timeline.

Nurse Aruna Shanbaug was raped on 01 November 1973 by ward boy Sohanlal Walmiki while she was changing clothes after finishing her shift. Sounds not so special yet but read more. He choked her with a dog collar that cut-off oxygen supply to her brain. Aruna has been a vegetable since then. She cannot speak, emote, use her limbs or control her muscles. For 33 years, she’s been living a vegetative existence on a bed in KEM hospital. (Source: TOI). The attacker was initially sentenced to seven years sentence which was later reduced to six as one year was served in the lock-up. The court did not even tried him for rape. I am not discussing the details of the gory act that he did as it makes my fingers shiver.

So you were moved by Hrithik’s performance in Guzaarish? Please note that Aruna’s plight will make us cringe in disbelief. She is blind, has to be fed, changed, cleaned and practically be taken care of for every single thing in life. Aruna is over 60 years now and has been a vegetable for almost 36 years now. Talking of the worst thing that could happen was her own family deserted her. Her fiancé however took care of her till he also got married.

Upon his release from jail, Walmiki shifted his base to Delhi and is leading a normal life. He must be a grand-dad by now. Yes, the animal who brought such calamity to Aruna’s life is living a peaceful life. Why wouldn’t this kind of information evoke a sentiment that made an NID student attack SPS Rathore just outside the court? it evokes similar emotions inside me as well.

Pinki Virani is currently writing a book on Aruna’s life and has moved to Supreme Court with a plea for mercy-killing. 

What is the future for Aruna? More so what is the future of such ailing vicitms? Will we ever really get to know who killed Aarushi? Will there be more over-dramatic bollywood portrayal of more Jessicas or  Priyadarshinis and over the top TV serials to depict cases like Ruchika.

You must be wondering why I am actually writing this post. Is it because I had to write something to show my aggression after the current media frenzy over Aarushi Talwar murder case or just because No One Killed Jessica has released?  I had to write it because in my heart I feel incapable of making any difference to Aruna’s life. I had to write it because somewhere we have forgotten her and few more.

How safe are we outside our homes and inside our homes? How safe are we at our schools, colleges, workplaces or public transport? If at all a crime is committed will justice be served? Will it be not delayed? Will it be not frugal?

Now that you’ve finished this post, all I can ask you is say a quick prayer for Aruna. She may not realize what all has transpired after that ill-fated night but somewhere she needs a prayer for taking new birth in an era where she will leave a normal life with a husband and some kids she planned in this life.




Update on the euthanasia plea is available here (Source: TOI). A panel of doctors have observed her situation and has confirmed that she is in a permanent vegetative state. However, the nursing staff feels she is not leading a painful life and expresses by some sounds.

Kudos to the nurses and hospital staff of KEM Hospital. May god bestow his choicest blessings upon you.

I will continue to update this post.

Suggested Related Readings by the author:

Here’s to you girls – be alarmed.

Parents killed Daughter?

Marital Rape ~ Clock Strikes One (fictional story)

Pic couresy: Frontline


31 thoughts on “Frugal Justice

  1. With crimes such as this, or any crime in general, the victim has to go through several layers of agony. First the immediate effects at the time of crime, then the denial of justice and the worst out of all is a realization that this whole world around you does not even care about the injustice being done. Getting rid of this feeling or running away is not only impossible but in return, it initiates a reaction causing a slow mental death and keeps amplifying the pain with every passing second. In this particular case it is even worse as she can’t pose a question to anyone near her that why were it to happen to her. I never knew about this case but thank you for bringing the awareness in. I believe that time is changing and we are lucky enough to be a part of generation where a percentage of population, if it cant do more does spare a thought foe someone else’s misery. About a decade ago, it was much worse where almost anyone could get away with doing anything. The media does sensationalize it for their own purpose and morally its definitely incorrect but it serves two objectives. One that it inflicts a fear in criminal’s mind of being in the limelight once caught. Also, in certain cases it does help alleviate the pain caused by the feeling that no one cares. We are probably in the beginning of a transition phase where things would change over time and shortening of this phase or expediting of the process completely depends on common people who are ready to say that wrong is wrong in a loud and clear manner. It is one step which needs to be taken. It would be much easier if taken collectively rather than individually because everyone’s reluctant to get out of their routine, comfort and end up being in a misery themselves. Again , my prayers for Aruna and hope the creator of this universe gives her one answer in her lifetime that why was she chosen for this. Keep writing on more such issues

    • Thank you for such a beautiful comment. I really feel honored to have such amazing readers. I agree with the two points you raised regarding media.

      I hope both Aruna and Aarushi get justice – timely and sufficient.
      Thank you K. Your valuable comments are fodder for this blog.

      • Its always a pleasure to come across good writers and read what they think and write. There aren’t many who can present a lucid picture of the subject and still be objective in their writings. So, we readers should be thankful.

        Even, I hope Aruna, Aarushi and innumerable such victims get justice. Also the problem needs to be solved at a higher level through some much needed cultural and social changes in the society which hold the root cause of these kind of crimes.

        • Absolutely. How safe are children (or anyone as a matter of fact) inside and outside their homes is the actual issue here. Noida police has done a really terrible job here much like the Nithari killings. There was too much pressure on them to identify the murderer. Such shabby investigation!

          As for Aruna, euthanasia is a tricky topic and most people do not worry. It is like many other things we do not worry about till it happens to us and it always does. You, I or them anyone can easily become a faded newsline item.

  2. Read about this sometime back…reading it now…praying ever since…but if something doesnt move, I guess we can start a movement virtually at least. at least.

    • Thank you for the prayers. You are a good soul R.
      My post is a bleak attempt to bring awareness. Any small deed towards her ill-forgotten case is a big deed.

  3. It’s terrible I don’t know what to say. I pray for her and her family, though I really can fathom how one can abandon family.

    I’m sorry I don’t agree with mercy killings. Euthanasia is not something even I could agree for not even in her case. I wholly believe even for prisoners, man should not take the life of another not and all I can do is pray.

    It’s sad I feel sad.

    I can only pray.

    The criminal should have been in jail for life… till his has breath… her life is practically over he should be living in jail till his is as well.

    • Yes I agree. Here life sentence should literally be a life sentence.

      Regarding the mercy killing bit, the debate will continue to be a topic of contrasting views. I respect your opinion here.

      Hope Aruna finds peace soon.

  4. Sometimes, “justice” turns out to be a joke…when there’s no “evidence” and a person who was convicted has to be let free — even when the judge himself might have seen the crime with his very eyes.

    Who decides these things? How can someone let go a criminal just because there’s no physical evidence?

    We talk about these things over dinner almost everyday…many of us do, I think. But crimes keep happening, criminals keep walking away. Life changes only for the victims and their near/dear ones.

    I dont even knw what i’m trying to convey here…all i can do now is rant!

    • I understand P what you are trying to say. Your words are totally understood. Such is the irony of judicial system. It needs proof. People who have power will continue to have an upper edge and the victins will continue to wail.

  5. Agree with each and every bit of what have you written, its not only the media its the system we are living. Our society itself is male chauvinistic. They will just enjoy the taamashaa’s until (God forbid’s) someone close to them get’s in similar position. We all want to be rich success powerful but we have forgotten how to be a human’s . This is truth of our society we are living in.

    As said by the Rabindranath Tagore, Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake…

  6. Hi M

    I have to shamefully admit that I was totally ignorant about this.. Thanks a bunch for bringing it to my notice.. I will keep her in my prayers


  7. I remember reading about this incident. Why doesn’t the media take up cases like these with the same gusto with which they take up a Jessica Lal or Arushi Talwar’s case? Maybe there is nothing really ‘high-profile’ about neither the victim or the perpetrator.

    It’s scary how helpless we are, even when we have the best of the intentions.

    • You are right Pradyut. There is no scope for sensationalism in this case that is why. Neither her parents are alive to be asked the questions – ‘aapko kaisa lag raha hai Aruna ko is haalat mein dekh kar?’

      We are helpless. I am just putting in my 2 cents effort by writing about her and making people aware about her existence in our otherwise normal life.

      Thank you for your comment.

  8. This is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed at various levels. These acts of violence are being committed time and again. Judiciary has failed to set the desired precedence. Our laws are also not up to the mark.

    These crimes do raise a question about our 5000 years old civilization. What sort of evolution is our culture showcasing?

    May sound childish on my part but I think life imprisonment should be actually for “life”. If someone gets to live (in jail) after committing such crimes, it is too much mercy.

    • I can’t agree more Pushkar. Outraging a woman’s modesty is the most heinous crime ever. No sentence is ever enough. In this case especially, judiciary actually played a cruel joke and gave a laughter of haughty derision on Aruna’s face.

  9. I wonder what we can call as justice. I am outraged by the laws that govern rape and any such assault. Frankly even if one innocent person is lost due to strict law. I say its worth it. Most criminals are not deterred as the laws are so lax. forget about the fact that they are delayed. *sigh* I cannot pray for her coz I feel angry! I would rather pray that she haunt him every damn minute he is alive!

    • I respect your emotions. The first time I read the story a part of me died and a part of me wanted to kill him. Serious profanities or praying for his ill-fate round my mind.

      It makes us angry. That’s why I used the case of student who stabbed SPS Rathore. They deserve all things gory.

  10. I remember going through same emotions when i first heard of this case some years back.. but i had none to tell and no where to talk about it … all this is not just sad but a disgrace to every government and judicial system ! worse that we let people go free only the evidence is not there ! what happened to moral strength of our society ! where did we lose it 😦

    • This case was a prime reason why I continue to be scared of wardboys.

      Yes this is a disgraceful case for our judiciary. All we continue to do is sensationalize the case and put the departed soul and his dependents in misery. And when we are not done doing that we make a motion picture and release it.

        • Yes, that is why questions like // How safe are we outside our homes and inside our homes? How safe are we at our schools, colleges, workplaces or public transport? If at all a crime is committed will justice be served? Will it be not delayed? Will it be not frugal?// need answers ASAP.

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  12. It doesn’t hurt me one bit in agreeing the fact,that Justice delayed is indeed justice denied.
    I don’t take a sigh of relief in reading a final judgement to Jessica Lall’s murder trial that had been procrastinated for more than a decade. A decade?
    Believe it or not, one could be as right and still underestimating the numerous cases pending and waiting someone to wither the dust off the files someday …
    I have to admit i had never heard of Aruna’s case until now , but the way you put it and believing every sense of the word , i can still not even imagine the pain she’d lived in for all these years.
    It is sad however, I don’t completely deny the power of media. A two fold medium, and i’m only ears to their sensible outrage.I hope the times come soon when justice doesn’t take forever to be served… very impacful post M. I’m going to read more about the case and many others i never realized if they even existed.
    Keep flirting with your thoughts, it brings the best out of u !

    • Thanks girl. Yes most of us are not aware about us. She is fighting for her life and I think her mercy killing plea should be accepted. She deserves respectful death at least.

      Aarushi’s case will also soon bite the dust. We will forget and some new case with its sensationalism will replace our curiosity.

      Thanks for your kind words. My intent here is to make people aware about her existence and ask people to pray for her. That’s all we can offer her.

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