The Tarun Tejpal chargesheet attempting Guinness book records over what was basically a groping and rape under the new definition got me curious about the sizes of various chargesheets. This is mostly an experiment driven by curiosity.
I thought the chargesheet had a lot of pages and compared it with a few, and there seemed to be a pattern. So weeding out random results and sticking with Mainstream News sites, these were the results I got.
|Name of rape case
|Pages in chargesheet
|No of search results in MSM sites
|Tarun Tejpal Goa Rape Case
|Asaram Bapu rape case
|Babu Lal Nagar rape case
|Shakti Mills rape case (photojournalist)
|Shakti Mills rape case (second – was back to back with first)
|Hyderabad techie gang rape by cab drivers case
I am using this search engine I have created using India’s biggest news sites only.
This is by no means exhaustive research, but in my view is somewhat indicative of media influence on how “seriously” cops take a case. What the merit is, in the chargesheet, is difficult to say. For example, I hear that the chargesheet against Tarun Tejpal contains frame by frame printouts of CCTV footage (but not the video). Something like that will fill up pages fast.
There are exceptions which seem reasonable as per prevailing patterns in the country:
- The Babu Lal Nagar case has a smaller chargesheet than the pattern. Babu Lal Nagar is also a politician and an ex-minister.
- The second Shakti Mills Gang Rape case has disproportionately more page chargesheet – it also came on the heels of the first Shakti Mills Gang Rape outrage.
- I have deliberately omitted the Delhi Gang Rape, which has a 1011 page chargesheet, mainly because the results (210,000) include all kinds of articles, which are not related to the case but refer to it – from demands for laws to new laws to op-eds on other rapes to …. anything. Literally. I was not able to filter out relevant results in a way that could be equivalent with the rest. If you can, help me out.
- There are bound to be errors in such measures ranging from pages indexed or not by Google, to cases being referenced by other issues, so this cannot be considered an accurate method, but assuming similar variations for all the cases (other than Delhi Gang Rape), I think the results are indicative of a need for more refined research.
- The custom search currently shows only results from sites related with National news channels. I imagine large newspapers also influence opinion and I will try to customize this search to include a more realistic selection of news sources that influence public opinion.
What it means will take more research than is the capacity of this blog to produce, but I do think that media reporting influences how the police deal with a case. Which is an excellent reason for media to be responsible in how they deal with cases, unless they WANT to preempt the process of justice.