Justice Gita Mittal (in one of her landmark judgements dealing with compensation for riot victims in the Delhi High Court) has made some lovely (if lengthy) comments, while interpreting Article 21 of the constitution, in the context of communal violence.
"It is the duty of the State to create a climate where the cleavage between members of society belonging to differen faiths, caste and creed are eradicated. The State must act in time so that the precious lives of the people are not destroyed or threatened.... Like disease prevention, the state must take every precaution..."
Violence - group violence especially - is a disease. One we have not learnt to vaccinate our children against. One for which we have no trained doctors. One for which, we are told, there is no cure.
Maybe we just need to begin tackling it on the same scale as we do epidemics, like the plague. And with the same shiver of disgust for administrations that allow disease-inducing filth to linger in their backyards.
However, reading further in the same landmark judgement, I can across this:
"it (the State) cannot escape liability to pay adequate compensation to the family of the person killed during riots as his or her life has been exinguished in clear violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, which mandates that life cannot be taken away except according to the procedure established by law."
Life cannot be taken away... except
according to the procedure established by law.
The law, eh?