The other conviction is related to an incidence to which virtually every Indian is emotionally involved. India’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. The court rejected a plea by Kasab to commute the death sentence handed to him by the Bombay High Court, to life imprisonment.
Positives apart, both these verdict also exposes the glaring shortcoming of India’s judiciary – the amount of time elapsed before a final sentence is pronounced. While it took India nearly four years to sentence Kasab (despite so many witnesses), Norway's mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was found sane and was sentenced to 21 years in prison on 24th August, 2012 within only about thirteen months (on 22nd July, 2011) after he went on a rampage leading to approximately 77 people being killed. Even in case of Naroda conviction, while justice seems to have prevailed, waiting for ten years to get one is as good as justice being denied. The delay in justice boils down, not to the deficiency of legal acumen of the judiciary but due to acute shortage of judges. India’s Supreme Court itself is under-staffed. High courts are also under stuffed and the situation in the subordinate courts is even worse. As of December 2010, more than 22 million cases were pending in the subordinate courts, of which about 4 million cases are over five years old. Not surprisingly, India fares way too poorly under enforceability of contract clause in the Doing Business report by the World Bank. As per the latest report, in terms of time taken, India fares worse than Pakistan, Liberia, Angola, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire and many others. Despite the perceived fairness of justice (remember, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of Vodafone against the Government of India), therefore, India’s attractiveness is low. No business can afford to wait for years together for a verdict to come out. Unless urgent steps are taken to reform India’s judiciary, there will only be limited faith on the system.