Jessica Lall’s Murder Trail : A Sister’s Fight Against The System

“We have no hesitation in holding that Manu Sharma is guilty of an offence under Section 302 (murder) of IPC for having committed the murder of Jessica Lall … as also under Section 27 of the Arms Act,” said a division bench comprising Justice RS Sodhi and Justice PK Bhashin.

Today I feel proud. I am proud of being an Indian woman.

It’s been nearly 8 years of constant struggle against the judicial system, emotional tussle with one’s self and a strong determination for a loved one by Sabrina Lall to accomplish her objective. She has finally brought justice to her dead sister and poignant peace to her departed parents.

In today’s society where blood relations are treated as nothing more than some genetic bonding, it is heartwarming to see someone like Sabrina Lall; who practically gave up so many years of her youth, all in an effort to bring her sister’s murderer punished and put behind bars.

Though the media and the court hailed the star witness Bina Ramani for her testimony against the accused, not taking any credit from here – for me the only one who deserves praises and accolades is Sabrina Lall.

In our country, its no hidden fact that once a person is caught within the law and order web, very few manage to come out of it victoriously. Things only get uglier, when one is up against the influential or people with political backing. And to be a woman makes matters even more painful. But thankfully individuals like Sabrina Lall not only give us hope but also the courage to fight for what we believe in. There is no doubt in my mind that Sabrina’s struggle in the Jessica Lall case had a lot to do with the justice attained in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case and hopefully the same verdict one could expect in the Nitish Katara murder trail.

On the other hand, I was also glad that the division bench comprising Justice RS Sodhi and Justice PK Bhashin did not hesitate from mentioning the irresponsible nature of the trail court and judge S. L Bhayana. The high court held that Bhayana’s decision to reject the testimony of witness Deepak Bhowani not only “reflects total lack of application of mind” but also “suggests a hasty approach towards securing a particular end, namely the acquittals.” The judges also stated that the other witnesses, namely Bina Ramani, Malini Ramani and George Mailhot had said enough to prove Sharma’s guilt, but the trial court had failed to appreciate that.

It is important to note that the high court gave its verdict based on the same evidence which the trial court had felt was “not sufficient”.

Manu Sharma will be sentenced tomorrow; he is mostly likely to either get a life-term behind bars or a death sentence. Though Sabrina wishes for a jail sentence, I for one would be more pleased with the verdict of “Hanged till Death”. However Manu Sharma is eligible to appeal against the High Court’s decision at a higher court.

Agreed, this is just one case amongst the thousands collecting dust in some back cupboard drawer of a locked-up court room but as a friend remarked “A start is a start”. And hopefully many more in similar situation as the Lalls would gain some inspiration from this courageous woman and fight their battles with a brave heart.

Before I end, I would like to ask just one question to the Devil’s advocate, Mr. Ram Jethemalani, “Dude, what happened to your Red Turban Theory and when the heck are you going to reveal identity of the actual killer?”

6 Comments so far

  1. Viewer (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

    Slowly but finally indian court is trying to prove that sooner or later Justice will prevail.. And I agree with u Sakshi, the efforts of Sabrina Lal is brearing some fruit.

  2. arZan (unregistered) on December 20th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    Am I missing some connection here with Mumbai. ;)

  3. Saakshi O. Juneja (unregistered) on December 21st, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

    Arzan : Jessica Lall case has been over all the news in the past couple of months. The case has inspired many to take a stance against the one’s guilty. In Mumbai itself numerous campaigns, candle light march, stage plays had been organized inorder to spread the message across therefore I thought it would be good to put up this post on the Mumbai Metroblog as well.

    Will delete it…if you think it’s not appropriate.

  4. arZan (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2006 @ 3:32 am

    I never said that it was or was not appropriate. At the same time, it is every author’s decision what they want to post or not.

    I would have loved to see some coverage or mention in particular about the local city wide campaigns.

    Thats why I said with a “;)” if there was something I missed.

  5. RAJESH (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2006 @ 6:29 pm


    Kudos to Lall’s…the survival and fight of Sabrina!!

  6. Karan (unregistered) on December 26th, 2006 @ 11:30 pm

    hmm, the fight is far from over. its on to the supreme court now. some lawyers say the decision might even be overturned, as most of the evidence is circumstantial (shoddy police work) and not much direct. the supreme court usually does not rely on circumstantial evidence. manu might still walk free

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