As kangaroo is the symbol of Australia, I erroneously assumed that “Kangaroo Courts” originated in Australia. A hilarious coinage from the US, the birth of the above-named term was associated with the actions of greedy judges who hopped from one place to another to cover as many trails as they could in a day. The income of the gallivanting judges, which either the courts paid, or the defendants as fines, determined their earning capacities and hence restoring justice was not their number one priority. The definition of the term clearly establishes that the practice is a violation of the victim’s constitutional rights as it goes like this as per Encyclopedia Britannica, “An unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding that ends in a harsh punishment; an unauthorized trial conducted by individuals who have taken the law into their own hands, such as those put on by vigilantes or prison inmates; a proceeding and its leaders who are considered sham, corrupt, and without regard for the law.” The national authorities failed to protect the freedom and the rights of the victims who were trialed in this manner.
According to the Legal Dictionary, “kangaroo courts” or “mustang courts’’ which made its way for the first time in a printed magazine article composed by Philip Paxton in 1853 and titled ‘A Stray Yankee in Texas’ abused the rights of the accused as his fate was decided in advance. This illusory, speedy legal process, which derives its name from the unforeseeable movements and the crude qualities of animals, was used by authorities with ulterior motives to convict the accused without proper evidence and defense. In different professions, it has assumed different meanings with the passage of time.
The fact that MP Helen Haines presented a bill before parliament with safeguards to protect innocent politicians’ personal reputation and to prevent them from public humiliation says a lot about the ‘Trials by Media’ which resemble kangaroo courts/ show trials in nature as media uses innumerable persuasive elements to sway public support in favour of the accused or against them. The MP’s efforts to obtain the right to private hearing before the Australian Federal Integrity Commission for politicians through her integrity bill was met with failure. Having said that, a few significant bills rejected in the past have been passed later, because of changing situations and increased support for it.
The SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environment) campaigns were striving to end Kangaroo courts because many male students at varied American universities accused of sexual misconduct, without substantial evidence, were proved innocent later. Therefore, it is time to end corrupt practices and manipulative proceedings, and choose the path of justice and fairness.