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Jessica Lal's case creates uproar in Parliament

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 27: Parliament members today (Feb 27, 2006) raised the issue of country's justice delivery system following intense public pressure over a lower court's recent judgement in Jessica Lal murder case.

Home minister Shivraj Patil said the government will ensure that justice is done. He said the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will be amended soon so that witnesses are protected.

The new law will place more emphasis on circumstantial evidence gathered by modern investigative methods, Mr Patil told the Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour.

The Jessica Lal case is before the high court which has taken suo motu notice of perceptible miscarriage of justice with acquittal of high-profile accused.

The home minister's statement came after Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechuri said the case smacks of tardy investigation and failure of the judicial system.

There has been a series of incidents where criminals go scot free as witnesses are intimidated and later turn hostile. "In any civilised, democratic society, this is unacceptable", said Mr Yechuri. "The low conviction rate shows incompetence on the part of government agencies". His colleague Brinda Karat said the Jessica Lal case has become a symbol of injustice in the country. It shows how influential people use political clout to manipulate the judical system.

The role of central investigative agencies needs to be looked into, she said. Also, the home minister should announce a time-bound re-investigation into the matter.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh said the government's moral authority is in shatters. If such incidents can happen in the national capital, then what could happen in villages, he asked.

Delhiites have been holding candlelight vigil in memory of model Jessica Lal who was shot dead at Qutab Colonnade restobar allegedly by Manu Sharma, son of former Haryana minister Vinod Sharma.

UNI

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