The Sanjay Dutt case is littered with many problems. The first problem lies in the fact that the actor despite having no role to play in the 1993 serial blasts found himself clubbed with the others bl amed for it. His acquittal under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) only proves that he was no terrorist and at best a misguided man with the wrong friends. What he has been convicted of is illegally holding arms under the Arms Act. Given he has not indulged in any criminal acts since his arrest and if anything has shown all signs of reform, it wouldn’t hurt to pardon Dutt of an offence committed decades ago. It is not to say that the others accused alongside him like Zaibunissa Kazi and Yusuf Nullwala shouldn’t be also pardoned in a similar manner. Perhaps in this case it should be considered that all the persons associated with the arms have perhaps paid a higher price than they deserved and should be given the opportunity of a pardon.
Rather than hoping for mercy from Raj Bhawan, Sanjay Dutt should thank his stars that he is not punished under TADA but under a much lenient Arms Act. Luckily, for Dutt, the “possession of a weapon is not per se a TADA offence”. Dutt was fully aware that he broke the law when he got hold of the weapons. He might be foolish but certainly not innocent. It is a simple case where the law had caught up with a criminal. What if he is Sanjay Dutt? This gives him no licence to keep three AK-56 rifles and a pistol illegally. The Congress and Bollywood coterie, who are begging for mercy for Dutt, should be advised to praise the court rather than shed crocodile tears for Dutt.