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Voice for human rights of terrorists should be low: legalists

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: Top legal luminaries seem to be divided when it comes to human rights of those accused of terror acts with majority having the view that terrorism should not be taken as a normal crime and thus the voice for human rights of terror accused should be lower than that of other crimes.

Speaking at a seminar on Seminar on Investigation and Prosecution of Offences Relating to Terrorism held at Indian Law Institute in New Delhi today, Justice Ajit Pasayat of Supreme Court said there should be no different voice when it comes to tackle terrorism.

Terrorism should be taken differently from other crimes, and so voice for human rights raised in terror cases should not be as high as that raised in other cases, he said. While supporting increased period for filing charge sheet in terror cases (UAPA Act has extended 90 days to 180 days for filing charge sheet in terror cases) Justice Pasayat said people accused of terrorism are getting acquittal because of faulty judicial system and lack of protection of witnesses. He demanded protection of witnesses pre trial, during the trial and post trial.

Echoing Justice Pasayat, G E Vahanvati, Solicitor General of India, said expressed surprise over the talk of human rights of terrorists who kill innocent people and violate human rights of others. He said there should be no pressure on lawyers if they are not willing to represent Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone terrorist caught alive during the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26. Kasab was caught red hand during the attack and there is no ambiguity about his involvement in the crime, he said.

There was a different opinion also at the seminar.

Addressing the gathering comprising mostly law graduates and practicing lawyers N R Madhava Menon, Member, Law Commission of India, and Founder Director, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, said fundamental rights of accused persons including those involved in terrorism should be protected. All anti-terror laws and measures should conform to fundamental rights of people, he said adding UAPA Act and NIA Act have no provision that would violate fundamental rights.

There was no need of 180 days for filing charge sheet, a provision in the UAPA Act, 90 days period was enough, said Madhava Menon.

He, however, maintained that India is still soft to terror and noise against terror laws is politically motivated. Poor governance, lack of fear of law and faulty criminal justice system have together contributed to rise in terrorism, he said.