Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Assembly suspends suicide victim

Our laws are intended to punish criminals after crimes are committed. That is baffling, in a few cases. Consider, for instance, the laws that dictate that no one has the right to kill oneself. I don’t have a clue as to what the punishment is for those, who somehow do manage to kill themselves! Would the best possible punishment be to bring them back to life?

Let’s not get into the habit of ridiculing the laws of the land. But what of those who wish they were dead but never manage to enact their wish? The law has no problems with them. After all, they merely wish they were dead! Wishing is no offence, as long as nothing is done about it. Many people wish others were dead; and our laws have no business with them either! However, this is no universal truth. In Iraq, for instance, Mr Hussein might have merely wished he had Weapons of Mass Destruction – and that amounted to a war crime. But in the United States, Mr Clinton wished he had done some sensational stuff, and he almost did it too; well, almost! So, that doesn’t really get punished. The point here is that countries disagree when it comes to the ‘wish’ to do wrong.

Back in India, our friend, Shiv Sena MLA from Akot, Mr Gulabrao Gawande tried to kill himself in the Assembly! It was not merely a wish (and we never would know what he really wished when he did what he did). Had he merely been wishing and did nothing, our laws would not have taken notice of him. But, he suddenly moved into the well (no, it’s not the well that has water in it – so, that was not the suicide attempt) with a bottle of poison and a bottle of kerosene! (Why didn’t anyone tell him that he needed only one of them, and not both?) Perhaps, he wanted to be doubly sure that he got the results. (On second thought, he might have wanted to spare the state of some expenses, by using the poison first and kerosene next.) But, as it turned out, his was an unsuccessful attempt that was merely a ‘wish’.

Since his wish was backed by some action (the Speaker Mr Babasaheb Kupekar might have even suspected his intentions as that of attempted murder rather than suicide and would have had his heart in his mouth for a moment – from his view, Mr Gawande would have sprinted with the poison and kerosene towards him!). Well, it didn’t matter if the idea was to use poison or kerosene – it was attempted suicide and many MLA’s who were alert and awake were eye witnesses to the attempt. Since this happened in India, Mr Gawande was just suspended.

He was unfortunate not to have been in the US. For, had he been there, he could have easily argued that he only wished to do that, he almost did it, but never quite managed to ‘complete the processes’. He could have just got away with the incident and not have been suspended! On the other hand, I’m glad for him that he was not in Iraq. Otherwise, the judgement would have been to “Jump on him, grab his poison and the (expensive) kerosene, put him behind the bars, try him in a special court, convict him of his offence and hang him!” The result would have been the same anyway.