10

Shabnam and her partner Saleem were sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of seven members of Shabnam’s family. Over the years, all aspects of Shabnam’s life have become a public spectacle: from the “saga” of Shabnam and Saleem’s “bloody and murderous love” to her pregnancy and the birth of her son. As recently as March 2021, a mainstream news media channel reported on an incarcerated Saleem writing couplets in the memory of Shabnam, deemed his “Anarkali”.

9

Evaluating aggravating and mitigating circumstances facilitate determining just sentences. Disregarding the crucial role mitigating circumstances play in the process is a bad precedent: it encourages a narrow reading of the law that supports increased (and not necessarily fair) punishment by Courts across the country.

11

The Constitution of India is a document of aspiration. Conceived as what recent scholarship has called a “break from the (colonial) past”, it is accepted knowledge now that the Indian Constitution aspired to establish a state that aimed to replace colonial authority with a democratic republic and that aimed a state-led revolution against an oppressive social order.

8

In 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs commissioned the All India Citizens Survey of Police Services (‘AICPS’). It is a nationwide public perception survey aimed to suggest measures to ‘provide citizen centric police services’ in India. Its scope includes an assessment of the impact of police services on the public, gauging perceptions of safety and suggestions on measures to improve public satisfaction of the police.

6

Soon after the controversial arrest of environmental activist Disha Ravi by the Delhi Police, her lawyers approached the Delhi High Court in a writ petition, alleging that the police had leaked her Whatsapp conversations to the media in a mala fide act. Before the single bench, the police took the stand that they had shared no information with any media house. The impugned articles and videos of the various channels however claimed to the contrary, as the court observed. By its order dated 19th February 2021, the court issued a set of interim directions to the police and to the respondent media houses, holding them accountable to their own respective professional standards. Pertinently, the court also made an observation that “a journalist cannot be asked to reveal the source”.