Following Sanjay Dutt’s conviction and five-year jail sentence in a case connected with the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai, many persons have made all kinds of statements.
Most statements were full of sympathy for Sanjay Dutt and showed little or no concern for the blasts’ victims and their families. One almost got the feeling these persons were speaking about a young schoolboy who has been caught smoking a cigarette.
However, I was impressed by Rakhee Gulzar’s words:
“It breaks my heart to say this. I love Sanjay like my own child. I’ve been associated with that wonderful family from the time I did Reshma Aur Shera which was my first film with Sunil Dutt saab. Sanjay has grown up in front of me. …. He is basically a very loving and affectionate boy. … I know how much he has gone through. But to say that his jail term should be pardoned because he has suffered a lot is insensitive to those whose lives were shattered by the 1993 bomb blasts. … Today, I see his so-called friends shedding tears and pleading for leniency. If he is pardoned the common people’s faith in the legal system would be shaken. Instead Sanjay should accept the court’s verdict with dignity and serve his sentence.”
Like the others, Rakhee Gulzar expressed what appears to be genuine personal affection and sympathy for Sanjay Dutt, and concern for his well-being. This is natural from a friend.
Unlike the others, she has expressed concern for the blasts’ victims and their families. Most importantly, she has spoken about the need to preserve the common people’s faith in the legal system. This is expected from a citizen.
Sanjay Dutt was convicted and sentenced after a fair trial, in which he was represented by lawyers of his choice. He is entitled to pursue all available legal options to get a pardon or a suspension or reduction of his jail sentence. However, it is ridiculous for him or anybody on his behalf to appeal for mercy on sympathetic or emotional grounds such as “Sanjay Dutt has got married, and they have two small children,” or “His parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis worked for the good of society and the nation. Sunil Dutt and Nargis often went to border areas to give moral support to our brave jawans and did other social work for society.”
To quote U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff at a pre-trial hearing for Rajat Gupta: “If Mother Teresa were charged with bank robbery, the jury would still have to determine whether or not she committed a bank robbery.”