Sharbani Roy, the Special Public Prosecutor in the Park Street gangrape case, has faced a barrage of criticism and incurred the government’s displeasure for going easy on the three convicts.
In court, Roy did not press for the maximum sentence – life imprisonment – for Ruman Khan, Naser Khan and Sumit Bajaj, three of the five who gangraped Suzette Jordan. She asked, instead, for only a 10-year sentence. The judge accepted her plea and ruled accordingly.
The West Bengal government has severely criticised Roy for what it believes is an inexcusable lapse and, immediately after the judgement was delivered, sacked her from its panel of lawyers.
Chandrima Bhattacharya, State Law Minister, has said that Roy did not follow instructions and acted against the government’s interests and, hence, no longer deserved to be in the role of public prosecutor.
This contradicts CM Mamata Banerjee’s initial statement in the immediate aftermath of the gangrape. Banerjee had accused Jordan of lying and “maligning the government.” For a considerable period, the government and its supporters continued to blame Jordan.
Jordan’s family has expressed dismay over Roy’s action and is considering what remedial steps can be taken against what it believes is severe injustice.
Despite the criticism from all quarters, Roy remains defiant. She insists that she only acted according to the law and her honest belief and that she is not concerned about what others think.
KK Tiwari, who represented Sumit Bajaj, has expressed his bewilderment at Roy’s action, and wonders if she has essentially scored a self-goal.