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Questioning credibility of police system and media

New Delhi, Mon, 14 Jul 2008 NI Wire

The case is not closed yet, but the Central Bureau of Investigation’s clean chit to Dr Rajesh Talwar after several twists and turns has certainly raised public eyebrow taking note of the whole investigation done by the Noida police. CBI’s latest report not only gave a clean chit to the Talwars but yet again raised questions on our justice system, public accountability, policing the police and the erosion of media ethics.

CBI investigation finally bailed out Talwar citing the fact that they have no evidence against Talwars and named strongly the involvement of Krishna- Talwar’s compounder, and two domestic servants in the neighbour of Talwar. However, the investigating officials too cited the fact that the present conclusion is only cited on the basis of forensic evidence which they can’t present in the court as they don’t stand along judicial scrutiny. The case might bring some more revelations as the weapon of murder has not yet been recovered leaving many more questions unanswered.

The most debatable and sensitive issue that is now in public mind is the manner Noida police treated the case; apart from taking custody of Talwar the police even went to the extent of maligning the character of both father and the slained 14-year-old child Aarushi. Terming Rajesh Talwar as the prime accused without any concrete evidence is an act of immaturity which shows grinding down of public weight. The parents who have undergone such a trauma first losing their child and then the mental torture and harassment by the police negligence is pressing hard on the credibility of police system.

Now comes the ‘media’, the fourth pillar of our democracy, which represents the society, law and order and is pressed for justice. However, the manner in which Aarushi’s case was presented by a section of media by sensationalising stories certainly questions our present Press values. Even a daily soap opera comes with the idea of including the whole incident into family drama and news channels continuously run it as crime thriller to fill in their TRP cracks. Nobody was bothered to give some space to the pain and sufferings of the family, instead all took the role of the probing agency assuming one or the other.

The Talwar’s though, are now free from any charges but the painful moments they have so far gone through will certainly hunt them in the years to come. Moreover, it is time to chastise Noida police in every possible way and policing police in general. The whole incident has brought up the need of police reforms, to discipline police in treating public grievance and keeping the whole system out of any influence. At the same time, so far as press freedom is necessary in a society, pressing on media ethics too should be the central point. It will be too late if everybody tries to cross the boundary.

There should be a code of conduct formulated for the press itself. It is true to an extent that freedom of press is necessary for the maintenance of the smooth functioning of the system, but the way media has acted upon in Aarushi’s murder case certainly places the existing decorum in the witness box. Whether Aarushi’s murderers are found out or not is another issue, but can the disgrace meted out to the family ever be compensated?

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