While the news that is buzzing around is Salman Khan’s jail term which comes 13 years after the committed crime, a case that took place in 2006, similar on a lot of grounds seems to have been completely forgotten.
Alistair Anthony Pereira ran over 15 people sleeping on a pavement in Bandra while driving back with five friends after a Sunday night binge at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. Initially he was imposed with a fine amount of Rs 5 lakhs to be paid to the victim and an imprisonment of six months by a sessions court. But later on he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment under Section 304 A IPC by the Bombay High Court, which was upheld by Supreme court in 2012.
Although the number of deaths and injured differ in both the cases, it will be insensitive to judge and compare the gravity of the crime in the two cases on the same basis - of dead and injured. Whether it is a loss of one life or ten, ultimately it is a loss which cannot be compensated.
Salman Khan has been sentenced five years whereas Pereira got three. Both of them were found guilty of culpable homicide. Salman was charged under various sections of the IPC whereas Pereira was charged only under Section 304 and 338.
We are aware of the fact that our judiciary system is complex and every aspect of a case is examined before delivering the final verdict but different punishments for similar crimes is something that removes one's faith from the judiciary.
Although the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of Bombay High Court in Pereira’s prosecution , the bigger question is why the period of punishment is different for two different persons who have committed very similar crimes?