What they call a court of justice, particularly in countries like India or Pakistan, is quite often a sanctuary for the accused if the latter happen to be rich and famous. As an exhibition of open favoritism, the Bombay High Court ordered TV channels in India from covering the story of an accident involving famed actor Salman Khan, reported Indian Express.
Khan, who retains the status of a mega film star in India, moved the court against the TV channels after a show was aired on a news channel on May 21 and talked about the 2002 road incident in which Khan allegedly ran his car over people sleeping by the side of the road, killing one and injuring some others.
Why did the TV channels have to be restrained from airing the show? Indian media is generally invasive and frequently goes overboard to sensationalize issues, sometimes creating issues when there is none. Still, when judges – who seem to be fond of watching TV – are expected to be neutral without compromising the freedom of media. By the media reports of the recent restraining order against airing the controversial show, the judge felt that it would serve the interest of justice to stop channels from influencing the court.
Ideally a judge who feels he lacks the professional and moral competence to maintain neutrality should reign and do something he can do well. On the contrary, judges tend to treat others – individuals and institutions – as their slaves who are made to serve their weakness of character, which has been revealed time and again in both India and Pakistan. The rich and influential offenders get favors from the court of justice and the poor punished for asking for justice.
Of course there is also a question of competence and lack of accountability. When it comes to politically charged cases, like cross-border terrorism, courts show the spirit of providing speedy justice. But when it comes to celebs and leaders, courts start taking extended naps. Salman Khan’s case started in 2002 and after 12 years, the high court is still listening to witnesses, one of whom has already reported getting threatening calls to step back from testifying and accept a bribe for doing so. Does that serve the Indian court’s mission of justice?