Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Semantics and the mental aptitude in the matters of law

It is in accordance with the flow of logic, the principles of natural justice and in all the democractic laws that the one who is presenting a claim has also to bear the burden to prove that claim.
But there is a catch in this. Catch is that in our day today discourse, by a semantic turn of the statement- the language and the grammar- a 'claim' can be made to appear like a mere doubt, a suspicion or even simpler - a trivial cross-examination.
The effect of this 'twisting' by usage of the Linguistic is that the 'burden of proof' appears shifted , away from the one who maybe challenging an evidence while appearing to be merely a doubting Thomas, or a cross-examining lawyer.

In the field of Journalism, the news-men apply this effect of converting what may be an solemn legally valid evidence, into a 'claim' or an 'accusation', by presenting that news matter in the form of a doubt, or a suspicion. This, they can do under the cover of another valid debate of 'being Neutral OR being objective in the delivery of the news information to general public'.
Other times, this action of semantic change can happen because of what can be phenomentally described as the 'lack of mental aptitude in the matters of law'.
Here are some examples of the semantic turns which can be given to certain 'fact' to make that fact appear as what they sound like. To an otherwise simple known truth and a fact that 'Rajesh was the father of Twinkle', one can respond back to Twinkle as
''Who told you, Twinkle, that Rajesh is your father?'' ( a doubt)
''Twinkle is trying to prove that Rajesh is her father''. (an accusation)
''Twinkle is claiming that Rajesh is her father''. (a cross examination)
''Twinkle is accusing Rajesh to be her father''. (an accusation)
''What is the proof that the birth certificate of BMC correctly mentions about Rajesh to be Twinkle's father?'' (an apparent cross-examination)
''I don't accept the fact that Twinkle was daughter of Rajesh because I don't read Bollywood news'' (Denial, hiding with it the 'claim' being made that Rajesh was not Twinkle's father)
''I don't know !'' (a retreat into ignorance, implicitly making the doubt, and thereof , the claim that 'Rajesh is not Twinkle's father')

Infact , there can be infinite artistic examples and works we humans can do with our Language skills to make great semantic changes in the otherwise plain truth and a fact.
In news reading, this fundamental understanding of the issue of Logic is most essential to be able to make sense of the news. To make a sense, we need to know what is truth , what is a suggestion, what is false, and all other logical checks.
Read about a very current news matter, ''Pakistani soldiers kill five indian jawans at the border''.
The reactions which followed from the politicians and the news-men reflect to us not just our ignorances, but also a 'lack of mental aptitude in the matters of law'. The Ignorances can, however, be defended under the possibilities such as- none of us were at the border to witness all that incident which is being reported; or that many of the readers do not belong to the Defence forces to know the technicality as to who is truthful and who is not.
Among all the pandemonium of whether 'they were Pakistani Soldiers' (Claim A), or 'they were some people dressed in Pakistani soldier uniform' (Claim -B ), as a common man newsreader, the point to be noted was that there was no denial *from anyone*, (and most certainly from any relevant authority, such as Minister of Defense, or the Army Chief) about the Uniform of Pakistani Army being donned by the people who did the killing. Hence the legal technicality will roll itself such a way as to force upon as to accept that they were Pakistani soldiers, no matter the core truth, if ever revealed, establishes to be otherwise. This is because the standard truth we all are trained to accept is that only the Soldiers will wear the uniform of the forces they belong to. If we grant acceptance to Claim-B, the burden of proof of the hidden claim this statement bears , that 'they were not Pakistani Soldiers' (Claim Sub-B), will come by us only. Since we do not keep service roll of Pakistani Soldiers, or otherwise, how are we going to bear this 'burden of proof' to prove the claim (Claim Sub-B) . So , Claim -A is our only way out; while we would present to the world the statement of Claim-A, we would have exhorted the Pakistani Govt to deny or accept the truth of this statement. This exhortation will be necessary to proceed on the vast ranges of Dialogue.

It quiet surprises me that Politics is able to mould the course of natural justice in our country, which it does so because the citizens do not have the mental aptitude in the matters of law. Infact, it is this core thing, which is what we have otherwise described as 'ignorance', 'the religious people of India', 'lacking in the scientific temper', etc.