SOS e Clarion Of Dalit

July 4, 2016

Supreme Court Apologise to Public

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nagaraja M R @ 8:09 am

S.O.S   e – Clarion  Of  Dalit  –  Weekly  Newspaper  On  Web 

Working  For  The  Rights  &  Survival  Of  The Oppressed

Editor: NAGARAJA.M.R… VOL.10 issue.28… .13 / 07 / 2016

 

Indian Supreme Court Abandoned Mass Victims Of State Abuse During 1975-77; So, Must Apologise

By Dr. P.S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal

 

On 25th June, 1975 the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi imposed a state of Internal Emergency primarily to stay in power; earlier the Allahabad High Court had unseated her in a petition filed by a political rival Mr. Raj Narain who had challenged her election to LokSabha for election malpractices. The developments that followed constitute one of the darkest chapters in the history of India. The sufferings, humiliation and torture of people under this dictatorial regime continued for a period of twenty-one months. Fear was sought to be instilled through the mid-night knock by the police force; custodial torture was all too frequent and cases of disappearance like that of Rajan remain a chilling reminder of those times. Over a hundred thousand people were thrown in jails without trial using preventive detention laws like Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR); this included practically the entire class of opposition members of Parliament, trade union leaders; university students, karamcharis and professors; journalists; ordinary men and women; social and political activists. Press censorship was imposed. Some publications stopped bringing out their newspapers/magazines rather than submit to pre-censorship. However the vast majority of journalists and owners of media houses succumbed to political pressure. The All India Radio and the Doordarshan of course were under governmental control and churned out propaganda material day in and day out. Rumours had a field day. People disturbed by these developments would meet at ‘safe’ public places, look over their shoulder to ensure that police informers and intelligence bureau personnel were not hanging around; even then talks would be in whispers. Handmade posters with political messages were pasted surreptitiously at public places; leaflets printed at safe printing presses were passed on as part of resistance movement; but invariable even this, too, resulted in arrests.

In Delhi alone over 700,000 people residing in slums and even pucca houses were uprooted without any prior notice; the Muslim houses and shops in Old Delhi were targeted. Bulldozers were used to demolish hutments and dwelling units. Even police firing was resorted to, killing and maiming the poor and the hapless who as much as resisted the demolition. These people were dispatched to open land on the periphery of the entire city where resettlement colonies were sought to be built. Social activists – who ‘dared’ to hand over a memorandum to Sanjay Gandhi, the son of the Prime Minister and an extra-constitutional authority – were got arrested and sent to Tihar Jail. There were no avenues for justice; hence the underground resistance movement.

A program of mass vasectomy was pursued with utmost zeal; several million people including unmarried ones were subjected to this physical and psychological trauma. Thousands died during or after surgery. The police with the help of local Congress goons would round up people for vasectomy and bring them to hospitals in police vans. The issue of consent for vasectomy was not even addressed to, converting it into a compulsory family planning drive.

Since most opposition members of Parliament were jailed; and press faced ruthless censorship, some daring people in detention resorted to writ petitions in High Courts; equally brave and liberty loving judges in nine High Courts entertained these petitions. These High Courts sent a message that even after the declaration of an Emergency a detenue could challenge his detention. The Supreme Court overruled these nine High Courts in the habeas corpus case – bulldozing the consensus opinion expressed by the nine High Courts. Out of the five Supreme Court judges only one, Justice H.R. Khanna dissented. A para out of his dissenting judgement need to be always remembered:

“Supposing a law is made that in the matterof the protection of life and liberty, the administrativeofficers would not be governed by any law and that it wouldbe permissible for them to deprive a person of life andliberty without any authority of law. In one sense, it mightin that event be argued that even if lives of hundreds ofpersons are taken capriciously and maliciously without theauthority of law, it is enforcement of the above enactedlaw. As observed by Friedmann… in a purely formal sense, any system ofnorm based on a hierarchy of orders, even the organised massmurders of Nazi regime qualify as law.”

[Additional District Magistrate Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla, 1976]

Postscript

§  A division bench of the Supreme Court speaking through Justice Gangulyin Remdeo Chauhan @ Rajnath Chauhan vs. Bani Kant Das & Others opined:

There is no doubt that the majority judgment of this court in the ADM Jabalpur case (supra) violated the fundamental rights of a large number of people in this country. Commenting on the majority judgment, Chief Justice Venkatachalliah in the Khanna Memorial Lecture delivered on 25.2.2009, observed that the same be ‘confined to the dustbin of history.’

Delivered in the year 2010 this judgement was pronounced on November 19 – the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi!

§  However it would still be a year before Justice P.N. Bhagwati, one of the authors of the infamous 1976 judgement said sorry with ifs and buts thrown in for good measure. On 16 September 2011, speaking to the Indian Express, Justice P.N. Bhagwati said:

“I was wrong. The majority judgment was not the correct judgment. If it was open to me to come to a fresh decision in that case, I would agree with what Justice (H R) Khanna did. I am sorry (for the judgment) …

“Initially, I was not in favour of the majority view. But ultimately, I don’t know why, I was persuaded to agree with them. I was a novice at that time, a young judge…I was handling this type of litigation for the first time. But it was an act of weakness on my part.”

A Ray of Hope

A positive scene emerging globally is the belated apologies offered by the Supreme Court judges for their erroneous decisions through their earlier judgements dating back to several decades. Just two examples should suffice.

Firstly, in September 2013 Chile’s Judges apologized for their passive complicity with the Pinochet regime. In 1970 Salvador Allende  became the President of Chile through open elections. Augusto Pinochet staged a coup on September 11, 1973 and toppled the socialist Salvador. The military regime under Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist till 1990. It suppressed political parties, persecuted dissidents; suspended the 1925 constitution;banned tradeunions; used media to promote anti-democratic policies; limited civil rights of people; severely curtailed freedom of the press. The judiciary became a mere spectator and lost its independence. The Chilean courts rejected about 5000 cases seeking assistance to locate missing loved ones/ abducted/or killed. The Chilean Judges’ Association in a statement almost forty years after the coup said:

“To those who are victims of state abuse … the time has come to ask for the forgiveness of victims … and of Chilean society.

… It must be said and recognized clearly and completely: the court system and especially the Supreme Court at that time, failed in their roles as safeguards of basic human rights and to protect those who are victims of state abuse.” [Merco Press September 5, 2013]

Secondly, in Japan the Supreme Court apologized for discriminatory treatment of its leprosy patients. The Japan Times issue dated April 25, 2016 reported:

The Supreme Court apologized Monday to former leprosy patients for allowing lower courts to hold criminal trials involving them outside standard courtrooms over ungrounded fears about the spread of infection, saying such false practices were unlawful and further accelerated discrimination.

In a 60-page report, the top court stated that “discriminatory handling was strongly suspected” for special trials held after 1960, and violated the laws governing court procedures. It said the Supreme Court granted lower courts permission to hold such trials at sanitariums and other facilities for leprosy patients without fully examining each case.

… As for the constitutional right of the principle of equality, Supreme  Secretary-General YukihikoImasaki only said its violation was “strongly suspected.” Such discriminatory practices “encouraged prejudice and discrimination against the patients, and furthermore, impaired their integrity and dignity,” the report said. “(We) deeply regret it and apologize to the patients.”

The Indian Supreme Court never tires of asking for apology for this or that inanity usually for some perceived contempt of court. The Supreme Court ought to cultivate and demonstrate its sensitivity to its earlier decisions which were contemptuous of the people of India. The judges of the Supreme Court are servants of the people. In a democracy it is the people who are supreme. About time the Supreme Court en banc tenders an unconditional apology to the mass victims of state abuse during 1975-77, as also to the entire people of India.

[The writers are members of PIL Watch Group (non-funded, non-party) and can be contacted at: pilwatchgroup@gmail.com]

 

A Chief Justice of India says “I am sorry” but 30 years too late

 

By Shanmugham D Jayan and Raghul Sudheesh

When a former Chief Justice of India apologises for a judgement, that’s big news.  And Justice P N Bhagwati was not just apologising for any judgement.

He was admitting his “mistake” about  a case the New York Times called close to the Indian Supreme Court’s “utter surrender” to an absolutist government.

That case was ADM Jabalpur, popularly known as the Habeas Corpus case. On 28 April, 1976, during the Emergency, the Supreme Court had to decide if the Court could entertain a writ of habeas corpus filed by a person challenging his detention. The High Courts had already said yes. But the Supreme Court went against the unanimous decision of all the High Courts and upheld the right of Indira Gandhi’s government to suspend all fundamental rights during the Emergency. Four judges ruled for the government. One of them was Justice P N Bhagwati.

The lone dissenter was Justice H R Khanna.  The New York Times wrote at that time:

If India ever finds its way back to freedom and democracy that were proud hallmarks of its first eighteen years as an independent nation, someone will surely erect a monument to Justice H R Khanna of the Supreme Court. It was Justice Khanna who spoke out fearlessly and eloquently for freedom this week.

 Now 30 years later Justice Bhagwati says in an interview withMyLaw.net   his judgment was “an act of weakness.” He also says, “it was against my conscience…That judgment is not Justice Bhagwati’s.”

This might sound like a brave mea culpa on his part. But unfortunately it leaves a lot to be desired.

First of all there is Justice Bhagwati’s own track record of having his ear finely tuned to the prevailing political winds.

Justice Bhagwati has praised Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency and later criticized her during the tenure of Janata government. When Indira Gandhi came back to power, he wrote a letter congratulating her.

Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

“May I offer you my heartiest congratulations on your resounding victory in the elections and your triumphant return as the Prime Minister of India…I am sure that with your iron will and firm determination, uncanny insight and dynamic vision, great administrative capacity and vast experience, overwhelming love and affection of the people and above all, a heart which is identified with the misery of the poor and the weak, you will be able to steer the ship of the nation safely to its cherished goal.”

What this really shows is that CJI Bhagwati might have gone against his conscience but certainly not against his career trajectory. Justice H R Khanna, who dissented in that Jabalpur case should have become the CJI because of his seniority. But he paid the price for that dissent. He was superceded by Justice Beg. Justice Bhagwati would likely have met with the same fate of Justice H R Khanna had he dissented.

This is not the only issue where Justice Bhagwati has made a volte face.

Take the mysterious collegium system by which Supreme Court justices are appointed which has come under heavy criticism for being an unaccountable opaque cabal. It was Justice Verma who created the collegium system but in theFirst Judges Case (the SP Gupta case) Justice Bhagwati wrote about it: “There must be a collegium to make recommendation to the President in regard to appointment of a Supreme Court or High Court Judge”.

Justice Bhagwati’s mind has now changed about that as well and he says he is against the collegium system in toto.

His own track record as a judge has also raised legal eyebrows.

Noted constitutional law jurist HM Seervai has criticised Justice Bhagwati for merely copying justice Krishna Iyer’s judgment in the Som Prakash case and incorporating it into his judgment in the Ajay Hasia case.

In a landmark case of constitutional law, popularly referred to as the Minerva Mills judgment, Justice Bhagwati wrote: “Unfortunately we could not be ready with our judgment and hence 9 May,1980 being the last working day of the Court before the summer vacation we made an order expressing our conclusion but stating that we would give our reasons later.”

A judge of the Apex Court saying “I am not ready with my reasons but this is my conclusion” anyway sets a deplorable standard for the Indian judiciary.

Justice Bhagwati writes, that after the Emergency he realized the mistake of Jabalpur and he practically rewrote Part III and Part IV of the Constitution; particularly Articles 14, 19, 21 and 32. A judge claiming that he is “writing” the Constitution, as opposed to interpreting it is unorthodox to say the least.

These days Justice Bhagwati is more in the news because he is a trustee with the beleaguered Sathya Sai Trust. As financial scandals  rock the Sai Baba’s spiritual empire, the trust relies on people of the eminence of  a former CJI to give it some credibility. Immediately after the demise of Satya Sai Baba Justice Bhagwati was appointed as chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai  Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University). Recently in an interview given to The Times of India  Justice Bhagwati said: “Sai Baba, my god, dictated my every single judgment”.

People will make of that what they will. But the real question now is what does this apology mean for the Indian judiciary. Some will think its proof of the self-correcting mechanism of the Indian judiciary. But it’s also proof of something much more damning – that political equations play a crucial role in the appointment of judges and the judgments these judges deliver.

What happened in the Habeas Corpus case was not a momentary lapse in judgment. It was a disgrace to the Supreme Court, and more so because Justice Bhagwati says it went against his conscience, even then.

This belated apology does not restore the faith of people in judiciary. The only way to do that is to have an independent judicial commission appoint judges and bring in transparency in every stage of their appointment.

It may save us from a Bhagwati-style apology another 30 years later.

 To,

Shri  Justice T S Thakur ,

Honourable Chie Justice of India ,

No.5 , Krishna Menon Marg ,

New Delhi – 110011.

 

 Honourable Sir,

Subject : Honourable Chief Justice of India  Resign from judicial service

Inspite of repeated  appeals  , show cause notices by  our publication  to you , you have not replied let alone take action. You & your  office staff  lack  decorum , etiquette  , duty consciousness   of  replying  to  letters. You  are making contempt of citizens of india.  But  remember the basic fact  that you are enjoying 5 star pay , perks  at the expense of public.

 

Throughout  this  petition &  in our past appeals , the term “JUDGE”  includes  all public servants  right from  revenue inspector ,  officials performing quasi  judicial functions  right up to chief justice of india. 

 

In the following articles we have clearly shown  how   justice is  delayed  &   justice manipulated  in india.  SCI & CJI  is not even bothered about health conditions , life of   applicants.  I  am suffering from health problems  caused by   my previous  occupation  at M/s RPG Cables Ltd  and  am in my final days  ,  authorities   , SCI  , CJI   is not  bothered  to give justice  inspite of my repeated appeals  for  more than  a decade. 

 

Following  two   examples , actual cases  highlighting  the  judicial  delays :

1.     In Mysore  ideal Jawa Factory , company was locked out.  Huge amounts were outstanding to banks , suppliers , employees.  The  land  usage , alienation could have been converted from industrial use to commercial  to get higher market price  and then auctioned.  We appealed for same to  authorities including SCI , but they didn’t heed. It was auctioned off  for lesser price , proceeds earned was far  less to  fully  pay outstanding amounts to banks , suppliers and employees. They were only paid less amounts , thus  public banks , suppliers , employees were cheated of  their  rightful  dues. Afterwards the new buyer got the alienation , converted  it from industrial use to commercial usage , demolished factory building built huge residential complex and earned crores of rupees profit.

2.     In mysore  BEML   quarters  lake  &  Hebbal  lake  are  encroached. In the beginning itself , I have appealed to authorities  ,  SCI , CJI   to stop the encroachments.  District magistrate at that time threatened me. Even some citizens groups led protest marches. Nobody was botherd. Today  both lakes are encroached , huge buildings , factories are functioning.

 

You   are   delaying  taking  action  with  respect to  PILs , appeals   made by us   concerning public welfare , national security, loss to public exchequer , etc.  Where as  courts have enough  time  to  hear  trivial cases  of cricket  boards , etc. When  you  cann’t work  without  fear or favour   of criminals  inside & outside government , you are  unfit  for  the  post . Your continuation  in office  only serves your  self  interest not the country.  Hereby , we request you to  RESIGN from the position  of chief justice of india and  to pave  the way for  may be to a person who can work , uphold law. But  you can  still  continue in office  as a burden   on  public exchequer , society   as  some of the previous CJIs  did.

 

We  are  witnessing  unfit  people being selected as judges by collegiums , public  service commissions. Till  rot  in  judiciary is cleared , judges  lack  moral , legal  right to prosecute , punish others.  Only when  we  have honest  persons in judiciary , police service    then alone  we can clean criminals  in judiciary , police service , government.  Then  alone we will get RAM RAJYA , a just  society  envisioned  by  our  constitution  framers.

 

Against  common people ,  you  judges make  harsh comments , strict enforcement of law   ,  police  cruelly  treat commoners  , use 3rd degree  torture   on  commoners. Whereas  against  rich  crooks  , mafia   you  judges &  police fail , lack  spine  to  uphold  law.  You are zeroes  before  rich  crooks  , valor of  judges , police  is  only  before commoners.  Still  if you have  little  sense  of  duty  take  action  on  following  PILs  , previous  appeals for  justice by us , reply  to  our  show cause  notices ,  issue  writ of mandamus  to concerned  public servants  to  give  full  truthful  information  to  our   following & previous  RTI  applications.

You have failed in your constitutional duties as Chief Justice of India. It will be better if you resign from judicial services immediately, it will be good for the society  the nation as a whole. or else you can continue in service as a burden on the public exchequer  , the society as some of previous CJIs did.

    Still  now also you can change your work style and sincerely do your duties  upholding rule of law IMPARTIALLY. Please read the details at  following web pages :

 

Justice  Thakur  RESIGN

https://sites.google.com/site/sosevoiceforjustice/justice-t-s-thakur-resign ,

https://www.scribd.com/doc/316023298/Justice-Thakur-RESIGN ,

https://eclarionofdalit.wordpress.com/2016/06/   ,

 

Rot in judiciary is decades old. Honourable CJI sir , weeping is not right constitution of india has given you  the authority , TAKE ACTION DO YOUR DUTY.  People , History will remember you forever with respect. Anyway you are getting very good 5 star pay & perks , will also get decent pension after retirement from government. First  forget about post retirement  postings , discretionary allotment of sites , etc from government then you can work fearlessly. Both central & state governments are  biggest litigants in the country , IAS babus make wrong application , interpretation of laws  leading to litigations. Start by clearing the rotten eggs within the judiciary. When judiciary & police  in a country strictly uphold law , work impartially that country  surpasses even heaven.

Do remember on the D Day , in the   Court of Almighty  everybody CJI , Judges , prime ministers , common man alike  has to bow his head. In who’s  court there is no match fixing , no technicalities , no vociferous hi fi advocates , no bias based on caste , religion , region , community , etc , only  straight simple account of wrongs & rights. Guess  his judgement in your case. GOD  BLESS US  ALL.

Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.

Date :  04.07.2016………………..Your’s sincerely ,

Place : Mysuru………………………..Nagaraja.M.R.

Honourable  Judges Do Your  Duty or Resign

–          Judges , Police bound to pay for  case delays  

     We  once again appeal to Honourable CJI , Supreme Court of India  to take  action  on the following PILs  ,  to answer the show cause notice  and to order the concerned public servants  to answer RTI questions.  The officials of  SCI don’t even have  etiquette , decorum to reply to our letters. Some of  my  appeals  are  two decades old.

     Remember  the basic fact  you are all enjoying 5 star pay , perks  at the expense of public and owe your duty to public.  Are  not  judges  drawing  huge  salaries , 5 star  pay , perks on time without fail ,  on 01st of every month? Have they forgotten to take salary in 25 years , but they keep cases pending for  20 – 25  years.  CJI   weeping   before   Prime Minister shows the weakness of  the judiciary & a shame to the nation.  Judges  never consider  sufferings of  weeping  litigants in cases.   Judges themselves are responsible for  long pending cases.

   Don’t  refer  the case  to police as they don’t  have power , authority to enquire high & mighty people , judges  &  previously they have failed  and  the case  is  to subject  some police officials , judges themselves to enquiry. Referring the case to police  is nothing but attempt to bury the truth , only  supreme court monitored  transparent enquiry by CBI  is right.

   Delaying  tactics of  judges is only  helping the criminals , anti nationals and terrorists. Please  refer  below mentioned  sample cases  of  Justice delayed for years to innocents , sufferings  of their family members. No judges , police are bothered. Are not the the respective judges , police  guilty of defaming those innocent persons , spoiling their livelihood , gross violation of their civil rights ? why not those guilty judges , police are paying compensation to victims of their wrong actions ?  But  the very same  guilty judges , police are  SHAMELESSLY  enjoying  5 star pay perks from public exchequer  for  decades.

  Bail system , Parole system are in favour of rich crooks in india , cases of rich crooks move at faster  pace  wheeas the cases of poor which are although older still continues. Judiciary , it’s system are biased. Consider the  sample cases of sanjay dutt , salman khan , jayalaita. Our judges , Police  don’t have spine to  enforce rule of law on rich crooks , while they put full  force , might on poor innocents.

 

If  anything untoward happens to me or  to my dependents Chief Justice of India  together with jurisdiction police &  District Collector  will be responsible for it.

 

Rot in judiciary is decades old. Honourable CJI sir , weeping is not right constitution of india has given you  the authority , TAKE ACTION DO YOUR DUTY.  People , History will remember you forever with respect. Anyway you are getting very good 5 star pay & perks , will also get decent pension after retirement from government. First  forget about post retirement  postings , discretionary allotment of sites , etc from government then you can work fearlessly. Both central & state governments are  biggest litigants in the country , IAS babus make wrong application , interpretation of laws  leading to litigations. Start by clearing the rotten eggs within the judiciary. When judiciary & police  in a country strictly uphold law , work impartially that country  surpasses even heaven.

Do remember on the D Day , in the   Court of Almighty  everybody CJI , Judges , prime ministers , common man alike  has to bow his head. In who’s  court there is no match fixing , no techinicalities , no vociferous hi fi advocates , no bias based on caste , religion , region , community , etc , only  straight simple account of wrongs & rights. Guess  his judgement in your case. GOD  BLESS US  ALL.

Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.

 Date : 08.06.2016………………..Your’s sincerely ,

Place : Mysuru…………………..Nagaraja.M.R.

 

Police Complaint against  Justice T.S. THAKUR , Honourable  Chief Justice of India  , SCI , New Delh

 

To,

H.E. Honourable  President  of  India ,

Rashtrapathi Bhawan ,

New Delhi.

Honourable Sir ,

             Subject :  Police Complaint  against Honourable Chief Justice of India

      I have  sent numerous appeals to CJI , SCI through post , e mail , web   since 1993 regarding crimes , specific  crime cases  , no action by CJI or SCI. In some criminal cases  which  has been brought to their   earlier notice , CJI & SCI could have prevented it , prevented the crimes from happening , but they didn’t. They let the crime happen & let it continue till date. They  might have received  something in return for favoring the criminals.  Let the almighty give dog’s death  to  such former CJIs and their family members who thrive  like  PARASITES  on  BRIBEs  &  Public Money  without  properly doing public duties.  CJI  is not answering our RTI questions properly  nor  admitting , acting on our PILs. He is not even replying to our show cause notices. It  is  nothing  but  individual  failure of duties by previous  CJIs  and  present CJI  Justice. T.S.THAKUR. Previous CJIs and Present CJI Justice T.S.THAKUR are  taking huge salaries , enjoying 5 star life style  out  of  tax payments made by we the common people , public , child labourers. Have the previous CJIs , Present CJI  Justice  T.S.THAKUR sincerely done their constitutional duties  to earn it ? Money  not earned will be either  stolen  or  donation or alms.

     Thereby CJI is aiding criminals , anti nationals , terrorists  and underworld mafia. Hereby ,  I do appeal to you take action against the  erring CJI and accord legal sanction to criminally prosecute chief justice of india and to transfer  the complaint to respective jurisdiction police for  investigation & legal prosecution. Thank You.

  Date : 23.04.2016……………………………………………………………………………… Your’s Sincerely,

Place : Mysuru………………………………………………………………………………………Nagaraja.M.R.

 

 SHOW  CAUSE  NOTICE  TO  CJI Justice  T.S. THAKUR

We the sufferers of Injustices , suffering  public   WISH  DOG’S  DEATH  TO  CORRUPT   JUDGES , CORRUPT  POLICE   &  THEIR  FAMILY MEMBERS  WHO THRIVE  ON  BRIBES. In the court of Almighty , God there is no  match fixing , we pray to that almighty to give  dog’s death ,  death , suffering  due to accident , kidney  problem , heart problem , etc  to  corrupt judges , corrupt police & their family  members who  shamelessly thrive on bribes ,  looted public money. They must not have sudden death , they must suffer for months  before death.  Then alone they will realize the pain of the  public.

We  whole heartedly  salute   honest  few , honest   judges ,  honest police & honest public servants  who are tirelessly upholding rule of law inspite of many obstacles , threat to themselves. We pray to almighty to give strength , health  , wealth , longevity to such honest persons.

I have  sent numerous appeals to CJI , SCI through post , e mail , web   since 1993 regarding crimes , specific  crime cases  , no action by CJI or SCI. In some criminal cases  which  has been brought to their   earlier notice , CJI & SCI could have prevented it , prevented the crimes from happening , but they didn’t. They let the crime happen & let it continue till date. They  might have received  something in return for favoring the criminals.  Let the almighty give dog’s death  to  such former CJIs and their family members who thrive  like  PARASITES  on  BRIBEs  &  Public Money  without  properly doing public duties.

It  is  nothing  but  individual  failure of duties by previous  CJIs  and  present CJI  Justice. T.S.THAKUR. Previous CJIs and Present CJI Justice T.S.THAKUR are  taking huge salaries , enjoying 5 star life style  out  of  tax payments made by we the common people , public , child labourers. Have the previous CJIs , Present CJI  Justice  T.S.THAKUR sincerely done their constitutional duties  to earn it ? Money  not earned will be either  stolen  or  donation or alms.

One  of the favors  enjoyed by Judges  for favoring criminal nexus of ruling politicians  ,  tacitly aiding the crimes of ruling  government   is the discretionary  allotment of  sites  to judges by the government.

I don’t know whether secretariat staff of CJI office & DARPG / DPG officials are forwarding my appeals for justice , e-mails to you or not. They will be held accountable for their lapses if any. This notice is against the repeated failure of constitutional duties & indirect collusion with criminals by previous CHIEF JUSTICEs OF INDIA. Notice is served against them , to the office of CJI , NOT personally against you. At the individual level I do whole heartedly respect Honourable Justice Shri  T S Thakur .

Please refer  two my appeals  for justice through DARPG ;

DLGLA/E/2013/00292

DEPOJ/E/2013/00679

In india democracy is a farce , freedom a mirage. the most basic freedom RIGHT TO INFORMATION & EXPRESSION , is not honoured by the government,as the information opens up the crimes of V.V.I.Ps & leads to their ill-gotten wealth. The public servants are least bothered about the lives of people or justice to them. these type of fat cats , parasites are a drain on the public exchequer . these people want ,wish me to see dead , wish to see HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH closed . so that, a voice against injustices is silenced forever , the crimes of V.V.I.Ps closed , buried forever.

To my numerous appeals , HRW’s appeals to you ,you have not yet replied. It clearly shows that you are least bothered about the lives of people or justice to them .it proves that you are hell bent to protect the criminals at any cost. you are just pressurising the police to enquire me ,to take my statement, to repeatedly call me to police station all with a view to silence me.all of you enjoy “legal immunity privileges” ,why don’t you have given powers to the police / investigating officer to summon all of you for enquiry ?or else why don’t all of you are not appearing before the police voluntarily for enquiry ?at the least why don’t all of you are not sending your statement about the case to the police either through legal counsel or through post? you are aiding criminals ,by denying me job oppurtunities in R.B.I CURRENCY NOTE PRESS mysore , city civil court ,bangalore , distict court , mysore ,etc & by illegally closing my newspaper.
there is a gross, total mismatch between your actions and your oath of office. this amounts to public cheating & moral turpitude on your part.

1.you are making contempt of the very august office you hold.
2.you are making contempt of the constitution of india.
3.you are making contempt of citizens of india.
4.you are sponsoring & aiding terrorism & organized crime.
5.you are violating the fundamental & human rights of the citizens of india and of neighbouring countries.
6.you are violating & making contempt of the U.N HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER to which india is a signatory.
7.you are obstructing me from performing my fundamental duties as a citizen of india.

8. As a result of your gross negligence of constitutional duties you have caused me damages / losses to the tune of RUPEES TWO CRORE ONLY.

 

Read  full case details at :

https://sites.google.com/site/eclarionofdalit/chief-justice-terror-links

you are hereby called upon to Pay damages to me and SHOW-CAUSE within 30 days , why you cann’t be legally prosecuted for the above mentioned crimes .

If i am repeatedly called to police station or else where for the sake of investigations , the losses i do incurr as a result like loss of wages , transportation , job , etc must be borne by the government. prevoiusly the police / IB personnel repeatedly called me the complainant (sufferer of injustices) to police station for questioning , but never called the guilty culprits even once to police station for questioning , as the culprits are high & mighty . this type of one sided questioning must not be done by police or investigating agencies . if anything untoward happens to me or to my family members like loss of job , meeting with hit & run accidents , loss of lives , etc , the jurisdictional police together with above mentioned accussed public servants , Chief Justice of India & Jurisdictional District Magistrate will be responsible for it. Even if criminal nexus levels fake charges , police file fake cases against me or my dependents to silence me , this complaint is & will be effective.

if anything untoward happens to me or my dependents , the government of india is liable to pay Rs. TWO crore as compensation to survivors of my family. if my whole family is eliminated by the criminal nexus ,then that compensation money must be donated to Indian Army Welfare Fund. afterwards , the money must be recovered by GOI as land arrears from the salary , pension , property , etc of guilty judges , police officials , public servants & Constitutional fuctionaries. Thanking you. Jai Hind , Vande Mataram.

Date  :  23.04.2016………………………………………………your’s sincerely,
Place :  Mysore , India………………………………………….Nagaraja M R

 

2016: India’s Degrading Journo-Murder Indicator

As six months of the year rolls on, India emerges as one of the worst
places for working journalists similar to the troubled nations
including Mexico, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq. The largest democracy
of the globe witnessed the murder of three journalists in the first
half of 2016, where the populous country lost five journalists to
assailants last year. As nobody has been convicted in all eight
journo-murder cases, the Indian media fraternity rose to the occasion
for special protection laws and also for a national action plan to
safeguard the media persons.

The first incident of journalist murder this year took place in Uttar
Pradesh, where a young scribe named Tarun Mishra was shot dead on 13
February 2016 at Gosaiganj locality in Sultanpur district. Mishra (32)
used to work for a Hindi daily named Jan Sandesh Times and he was
targeted for highlighting the illegal soil mining activities in his
district. Three motorcycle riding miscreants shot at him near to his
residential locality in Ambedkar Nagar and he succumbed to his severe
injuries in the hospital.

The second casualty was reported from Jharkhand, where a television
news channel reporter was killed by the local goons. Two unidentified
people targeted Indradev Yadav (also known as Akhilesh Pratap Singh)
at Dewaria locality of Chatra district on the night of 12 May. Yadav
(35), who used to work for Taaza News, faced the bullets in front of
the village Panchayat office and died on his way to the hospital.
Within 24 hours, the third case of journalist murder came to light
from its neighboring State of Bihar. Unidentified gunmen shot at
Rajdeo Ranjan on 13 May night at Siwan railway station locality.
Engaged with the national Hindi newspaper Hindustan in a senior
position, Ranjan (45) died in the hospital. A senior journalist with
brave image, Ranjan earned enmity with local political goons for his
reporting against those elements.

Both the incidents created instant wave of protests in Ranchi as well
as in Patna and then it spread to other parts of the country. Various
local, national and international media (rights) bodies including the
members of prestigious press clubs based in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
etc demonstrated their angers against the vicious attacks on scribes
and demanded distinctive punishment to each & every single perpetrator
of the crimes.

Shashi Shekhar, the chief editor of Hindustan narrated in his column
that ‘journalism today is amongst the most dangerous professions in
the world’, but even though people get attracted to it, as the society
needs truth and journalism is the most powerful medium to bring out
that truth.

“We have made sacrifices and we will continue to do so, till it is
necessary…The first target of this struggle will be to bring the
killers of Rajdeo Ranjan to book. Here I would like to thank friends
in the media for their united stand on the issue….Believe me, we are
nothing without your patronage. And we once again reaffirm our resolve
to continue to be your voice,” added the column.

Even the information & broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley came out
with a statement condemning the killings and twitted, “I strongly
condemn murder of journalists Rajdeo Ranjan in Siwan and Akhilesh
Pratap Singh in Chatra district. Independent investigation may be
instituted and guilty be punished.”

It may be mentioned that the robust media fraternity of the populous
country lost five journalists namely Jagendra Singh (UP), Sandeep
Kothari (Madhya Pradesh), Raghavendra Dube (Maharashtra), Hemant Yadav
(UP) and Mithilesh Pandey (Bihar) to assailants last year. Shockingly,
no one has been convicted in all cases.

Both the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and
Paris based Reporters Sans/Without Borders (RSF) strongly condemned
the killings and called for an authentic investigation into the
incidents. They also expressed concerns that India is slipping down in
the media freedom parameters turning the largest democracy into a
worst place for working journalists.

Condemning the killings, the Vienna based International Press
Institute (IPI) commented that it shows the failure of the province
governments to provide basic protection to journalists to carry out
their works. The forum also called the Indian authorities to conduct a
full, swift and transparent investigation into their deaths to ensure
justice to the victim families with an aim to end a growing culture of
impunity for crimes against journalists.

According to the RSF, India continues to languish in the bottom third
of the 2016 World Press Freedom Index. Though the Indian media is
dynamic and much more capable of playing the role of democracy’s
watchdog, the number of journalists killed and the impunity for crimes
of violence against the media fraternity escalate.

Published annually by the RSF since 2002, the global press freedom
index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180
countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media
independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative
environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.
“Wherever they work, Indian journalists are exposed to growing
violence. As well as frequent verbal and physical violence, attacks by
armed groups are on the rise in several states and the local
authorities have had little success in reining it in,” said a recent
RSF statement.

The media rights body also added that it had repeatedly urged the
Union government in New Delhi to launch a national action plan for the
safety of journalists and for the prevention of dangers and threats to
them, however RSF’s requests had so far gone unheeded.
Lately the Press Council of India chairman justice (retired)
Chandramouli Kumar Prasad came forward to strongly condemn the killing
of scribes and urged the Centre to enact a special law for protection
of journalists and speedy trial of cases of attacks & assaults on the
media persons.

“Nearly 96 per cent of the cases of killing of journalists have not
been taken to logical conclusion and are either languishing in the
courts or in some cases, investigation reached dead-end in the last
two decades, as reported by a Committee of the PCI,” said the press
council chairman.

Across the globe, over 25 journalists lost their lives to assailants
(from 1 January 2016 till date), where India emerges as one of the
deadliest countries. According to the CPJ, India finds itself with
troubled countries like Mexico, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq etc losing
over three journalists each in the last four months. After Syria (2)
and Turkey (2), Philippines, Guinea, El Salvador and Pakistan
(Muhammad Umar of Daily Dera News) recorded the murder of one
journalist each till date this year.

Earlier the northeast India based scribes also joined in the protest
against the killing of journos in central Indian provinces. The
representatives of various journalist organizations assembled in front
of Guwahati Press Club on 16 May and demonstrated their angers.
Covering their mouths with black clothes, the demonstrators also
demanded stringent actions against the culprits.

The Guwahati demonstrators also supported the move for special
protection laws for the benefit of working journalists across the
country and called upon the Narendra Modi led Union government in New
Delhi to formulate a national action plan to safeguard the media
persons, who pursue critical journalism for the interest of society,
nation and the human race.

Facing the heat of protests, the Jharkhand police arrested two persons
suspecting their involvement in the killing of Yadav. According to the
police the arrest was made on the basis of CCTV records, mobile call
details and other relevant evidences. Lately, the Bihar police also
arrested five persons suspecting their role in the murder of Ranjan.
Few others were detained by both the Jharkhand and Bihar police for
further interrogation.

However, adding worries to the Bihar government, Ranjan’s father Radha
Chaudhary and wife Asha Devi demanded a Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) probe to unearth the killers and they publicly
declared that they had little faith in the local police. Many Bihar
based journalists also asked for a CBI probe into Ranjan’s murder,
which compelled the State chief minister Nitish Kumar to recommend for
a CBI investigation to look into the matter.

 We the COMMON PEOPLE , CHILD LABOURERS are feeding Judges , Ministers through tax payments. Have you done your duty to earn it ?

Honest Hard Working Child Laborers Earning Less Than Rupees 32 per day

Salary of Chief Justice of India Rupees 100000 per month & salary of supreme court judge Rupees 90000 per month plus 5 star heritage bungalow , 5 star air / train travel , 5 star health care facility , etc all at tax payers expense

Salary of Member of Parliament Rupees 130000 per month + grand allowances 5 star heritage bungalow , 5 star air / train travel , 5 star health care facility , etc all at tax payers expense

When a Judge Himself Commits Crime , When a POLICE Himself robs , Murders ….

The public servants & the government must be role models in law abiding acts , for others to emulate & follow. if a student makes a mistake it is excusable & can be corrected by the teacher. if the teacher himself makes a mistake , all his students will do the same mistake. if a thief steals , he can be caught , legally punished & reformed . if a police himself commits crime , many thieves go scot-free under his patronage. even if a police , public servant commits a crime , he can be legally prosecuted & justice can be sought by the aggrieved.

just think , if a judge himself, that too of apex court of the land himself commits crime – violations of RTI Act , constitutional rights & human rights of public and obstructs the public from performing their constitutional fundamental duties , what happens ?

it gives a booster dose to the rich & mighty , those in power , criminals in public service to commit more crimes.

Chief Justice of India , Supreme Court of India is the last savior for public who are suffering injustices at the hands of powers that be , whose fundamental rights & human rights are violated. But inspite of repeated appeal for justice CJI & SUPREME COURT OF INDIA turned their blind eye , became deaf , mute spectator. CJI , SCI let down the suffering masses.

CJI & SCI are hand in league with criminals and are operating cunningly without leaving a trace of evidence. So they cann’t be legally prosecuted. Due to intentional negligence , failure of duties , TACIT SUPPORT by CJI & SCI judges many criminals have escaped , sample of which :

1. Master minds of Late PM Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case.

2. God fathers of Forest brigand Veerappan.

3. Huge robbery took place within RBI.

4. Many Police who are themselves Criminals in Khaki , are not prosecuted for the murders , torture they committed , for the bribes they received. BUT ARE POLICING , PROSECUTING OTHERS.

5. Many Judges who are themselves CRIMINALS are not legally prosecuted for the crimes they committed. BUT ARE JUDGING OTHERS.

6. Big Industrialists of Reliance Industries , RPG Enterprises , others have committed huge crimes involving crores of rupees and still continuing crimes.

7. Top executives of MNC Union Carbide & DOW Chemicals escaped from law after committing man slaughter.

8. Land grabbing worth Billions of rupees took place with TACIT SUPPORT of Judges , Police.

9. Loot of natural resources worth Billions of rupees took place with TACIT SUPPORT of Judges , Police.

10. The crusader , human rights activist , web journalist who raised his voice seeking justice was assaulted , facing life threat , his livelihood destroyed , his news paper closed down , accreditation to journalist & his web news paper denied , he is followed , monitored by criminals that be. The persecutors are not yet prosecuted.

11. What action has been taken by police , state governments concerned and apex court with respect to the murders of whistle blowers , RTI Activists and journalist ? casewise.

12. If not why ?

13. Protection of common people , public is a state subject & police must do their duty to protect citizens. Nowadays Police few police themselves are becoming a threat by working in league with the criminals. What action taken by apex court against duty failing police in the cases mentioned below. Casewise. ?

14. When every organ of the government fails to safeguard constitutional , fundamental rights of a citizen , It becomes the sworn duty of SUPREME COURT OF INDIA to step in and protect the citizens & their fundamental rights , human rights. However when the supreme court judges themselves fail in their duties , what action is taken against such duty failing judges , casewise ? The duty failure of the SCI judges indirectly aids criminals to do more crimes and act of failure , negligence by judges thereby amounts to COLLUSION with CRIMINALS.

15. What action has been taken by supreme court of india based on the Public Interest Litigations filed by our publication ?

PILs can be referred at : https://sites.google.com/site/sosevoiceforjustice/no-jail-for-guilty-judges-police

16. If not taken any action by SCI judges , why ?

17 . When a commonman goes to police station either as a complainant or witness or defendant / accused police question him , enquire his antecedents to know whether the person in question is leading a honest life. In the same way before court during case proceedings , lawyers , judge question the person in same way to ascertain his antecedents. In turn why cann’t the same person is not allowed to question the police , investigating officials , lawyers & judge to ascertain their antecedents , to make sure no match fixing is done ?

 
DECLARATION

Name : ………………………NAGARAJA.M.R.

Address : ……………….LIG-2 / 761 , HUDCO FIRST STAGE , OPP
WATER WORKS OFFICE , LAKSHMIKANTANAGAR , HEBBAL , MYSORE – 570017 INDIA

Professional / Trade Title : S.O.S – e – Clarion Of Dalit

Periodicity : WEEKLY

Circulation : FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION ON WEB

Donations : NOT ACCEPTED. Self financing . Never accepted any donations , subscriptions either for ourselves or on behalf of other organizations / individuals .

Monetary Gains : nil , never made any monetary gain by way of advertisements on my websites or web news paper or otherwise.

Owner/Editor/Printer/Publisher : NAGARAJA.M.R.

Nationality : INDIAN

Body Donation : Physical Body of Nagaraja M R , Editor , S.O.S- e – clarion of Dalit & S.O.S-e-Voice for Justice is donated to JSS Medical College , Mysore ( Donation No. 167 dated 22 / 10 / 2003 ) , In case of either Unnatural death or Natural Death at the hands of criminal nexus , my body must be handed over to JSS Medical College , Mysore for the study purposes of medical students.

Eye Donation : Both EYES of Nagaraja M R , Editor , S.O.S- e – clarion of Dalit & S.O.S-e-Voice for Justice are donated to Mysore Eye Bank , Mysore , In case of either Unnatural death or Natural Death at the hands of criminal nexus , my eyes must be handed over to Mysore Eye Bank , Mysore WITHIN 6 Hours for immediate eye transplantation to the needy.

Home page :
http://sites.google.com/site/eclarionofdalit/Home ,
http://groups.google.co.in/group/e-clarion-of-dalit ,
http://e-clarionofdalit.blogspot.com/ ,
http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/e-clarionofdalit/

Contact : naghrw@yahoo.com , nagarajhrw@hotmail.com ,

UID Aadhaar No : 5703 5339 3479

Cell : 91 8970318202

I ,NAGARAJA.M.R. hereby do declare that information given above are true to the best of my knowledge & belief. If i am repeatedly called to police station or else where for the sake of investigations , the losses i do incurr as a result like loss of wages , transportation , job , etc must be borne by the government. prevoiusly the police / IB personnel repeatedly called me the complainant (sufferer of injustices) to police station for questioning , but never called the guilty culprits , rich crooks , criminals even once to police station for questioning , as the culprits are high & mighty . this type of one sided questioning must not be done by police or investigating agencies . if anything untoward happens to me or to my family members like loss of job , meeting with hit & run accidents , loss of lives , death due to improper medical care , etc , the jurisdictional police together with above mentioned accussed public servants will be responsible for it. Even if criminal nexus levels fake charges , police file fake cases against me or my dependents to silence me , this complaint is & will be effective.

If I or my family members or my dependents are denied our fundamental rights , human rights , denied proper medical care for ourselves , If anything untoward happens to me or to my dependents or to my family members – In such case Chief Justice of India together with the jurisdictional revenue & police officials will be responsible for it , in such case the government of india is liable to pay Rs. TWO crore as compensation to survivors of my family. if my whole family is eliminated by the criminal nexus ,then that compensation money must be donated to Indian Army Welfare Fund. Afterwards , the money must be recovered by GOI as land arrears from the salary , pension , property , etc of guilty police officials , Judges , public servants & Constitutional fuctionaries.

date   :04.07.2016 …………………………..Your’s sincerely,

place : India……………………………………Nagaraja.M.R. 

 
 

After 29 years, man acquitted of stealing Rs 57

 

KANPUR: Some times justice delayed is not merely justice denied but downright cruel. Wrongly accused of pocketing Rs 57.60, postman Umakant Mishra remained suspended from his government job for nearly 30 years. He retired three years ago and was absolved of the charge in a court last month, but he remains a shattered man.

Umakant worked in a post-office in Harjinder Nagar area of Kanpur. Department authorities at the post office handed Mishra Rs 697.60 in cash to distribute as money-order. Of the total Rs 697.60, Umakant distributed Rs 300 and the rest he claimed to have returned to his senior colleagues. But they accused him of stealing Rs 57.60 and lodged an FIR against him.

That was on July 13, 1984. A case was registered against him for stealing Rs 57, and he was promptly suspended. The police booked him for criminal breach of trust.

 


It took nearly 350 hearings and 29 years for Umakant to prove himself innocent, but the loss he suffered in this period was enormous. The judgment was delivered by a metropolitan magistrate on November 25.

 


Umakant wept when he was approached for an interview. Struggling to find words, Umakant said, “I retired three years ago and remained suspended for nearly 26 years. I have no idea what to say or do.”

 


His wife Geeta said, “I am relieved and happy with the verdict, but if we’d got justice at the right time, our children’s career wouldn’t have got ruined. We lived with the stigma and financial trouble for so long that our future is destroyed.”

“This is apathy at its worst. We lost everything, borrowed money for our livelihood, children’s education and marriage,” she said. “Without regular income, we had trouble arranging for the education and marriage of our children. We sought donation to marry off our two daughters. Since we could not educate our children, our son Ganga has an insecure job.

 

Maharashtra: After acquittal, man wants back 7 years lost in jail

 

Shetye is now sitting on hunger strike seeking to meet Devendra Fadnavis and demanding that seven years of his life be returned.

 

With the uproar over actor Salman Khan getting bail on the same day of his conviction still fresh in the mind, comes a heart-rending story that highlights how our justice system works.

40-year-old Gopal Shetye was acquitted by the Bombay High Court on Thursday. However, there was nothing to rejoice for this man except the consolation of being proved innocent. Shetye is now sitting on hunger strike at the Azad Maidan seeking to meet Chief MinisterDevendra Fadnavis and demanding that seven years of his life be returned during which his world turned upside down.

His release came three months after he had completed his seven year sentence in a rape case. Shetye of Nagpur’s Narked had appealed in 2010 after he was convicted by the fast track court in Mumbai’s Sewri.

Lawyer Ramesh Majgaonkar said Shetye had twice applied for bail before the Bombay High Court but these were rejected. It was his third bail application that bore fruit.

During the incarceration, Shetye lost his father, his wife remarried (with his consent) and his two little daughters were left in an orphanage. “I want seven years of my life back. I demand justice,” said Shetye. The order overturning the conviction reveals how the police tried to frame an innocent.

“Since the whole accusation against the appellant was based on a solitary piece of evidence – his identification as the culprit not previously known to her – by an illiterate victim, who also came from a lower strata of the society and who could, therefore, be susceptible to the suggestions from the investigating agency, it was not safe to base the conviction of the appellant on such a piece of evidence,” the high court observed.

Justice Abhay Thipsay concluded that the identity of Shetye has not been satisfactorily established and hence overturned the conviction.

 

 

Justice delayed is justice denied, President Pranab Mukherjee says on pendency of cases

Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur said if bar association cooperates, judges will be ready to work even on Saturdays to clear pending cases.

 

 

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said justice delayed is justice denied, and pitched for speedy and affordable justice to all. He said there are over three crore cases pending in various courts across the country, reported IANS. “The government and the judiciary are collectively addressing this issue through an ongoing increase in the sanctioned strength of judges. These posts need to be filled quickly,” he said while addressing the 150th foundation day of the Allahabad High Court.

Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur, who was also present at the event, said bar association has “not been very very cooperative” in disposal of cases, reported PTI. He said he can assure the lawyers that if bar cooperates, judges will be ready to work even on Saturdays to clear old matters, especially related to people languishing in jail for years. He also said the country’s judiciary, as an institution, is facing crisis of credibility, and asked judges to be conscientious of their duties.

During the Patna High Court centenary celebrations on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed concern over the large number of cases pending in courts for years. He had suggested that the courts should come out with an annual bulletin, mentioning the number of pending cases to help judges and lawyers tackle them in a time-bound manner.The CJI was also present at the event.

Bastar, India, where the innocent lose years in jail

In a tough stance against Maoists, police incarcerate people for years, only to release them for lack of evidence

 

by Raksha Kumar 

 

BASTAR DISTRICT, India — Irpa Narayan limps as he walks the jungles around his village, Bellamnendra — an injury from the seven years he spent in jail for suspected anti-state activity before being acquitted. He was forced to sit six hours a day with his knees pressed to his chest in an overcrowded cell of the Jagdalpur Central Jail.

After being jailed for more than five years, he faced trial in 2013. In January 2014, he was finally granted bail. However, the bail required him to deposit 10,000 rupees ($150) in the courts as bond. Since he could not afford that sum, he remained locked up as his case dragged on.

He was acquitted in June 2015 after a judge found no reason for his incarceration.

“I was taken to jail for no reason and kept there for no reason,” said Narayan, 32. “And now I have to start building my life from scratch.”

Experts say his story is shockingly common: More than 96 percent of those arrested from 2005 to 2012 in the five districts of India’s central Bastar district were set free by the trial courts because of lack of evidence, and two-thirds of those arrested spent two to five years in jail before facing trial.

This is according to the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, a nonprofit group based in Bastar that filed right to information applications in 2013 to obtain relevant government records.

“In other parts of the country, the police work toward getting evidence so the accused can be convicted. Here the purpose of the arrests is not to get them convicted. Most of the cases are false anyway. It is just to intimidate the local populace,” said Shalini Gera, a lawyer with the group.

Because data from close to four dozen police stations in Bastar region are not digitized, the only way to arrive at the number of people who are arrested is by looking at the number of people who are incarcerated.

According to National Crime Records Bureau figures for 2013, while detention facilities in Chhattisgarh are designed to accommodate 5,850 people, there are 14,780 inmates. This figure includes convicts and people awaiting or under trial.

The facilities in Bastar are overcrowded, at 252 percent to 400 percent of capacity, compared with the national average of 112 percent, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau.

False arrests

In Chhattisgarh, for more than three decades the government has been fighting a bloody battle with a leftist guerrilla group commonly referred to as Maoists. The mineral-rich areas of the state have attracted large corporations from all over India.

While the government quells all opposition to mining, some Maoists fight to keep industrialization out of the jungles. This battle drives a wedge between those who support the government and those who support the Maoists. These divisions are quiet, however, because if they took sides openly, they would risk the ire of the opposing party.

False arrests are just one tactic used to scare people from speaking out against government policies, according to Alok Shukla, the community organizer for Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, a cluster of nonprofit organizations working in the state. “The authorities are trying to ensure that the Maoists get as little support from the local population as possible,” he said.

Most of these cases need not be tried at all, said Gera. The courts reserve the right to dismiss them on the basis of inconsistencies in the first information report and the charge sheet filed by the police. In Narayan’s case, for example, the report, filed in February 2008, indicates he was arrested for possessing a bow and three arrows and being present in the jungles in the midst of a police gunbattle with Maoists. Al Jazeera America has seen the documents, which appear to be hastily handwritten notes.

But Narayan lives in those jungles. And it is common for Adivasis, India’s indigenous people, to use bows and arrows to hunt. Since the report does not say that he was wielding a gun or participating in the battle, the court could have dismissed the case or instructed the police to dig for more evidence before they booked a case.

But “courts won’t risk dismissing cases in these areas, for the fear of being termed pro-Maoist,” said a local lawyer who requested anonymity to avoid possible reprisals. “In other parts of the country, a case such as Narayan’s would hold no water, as it is weak in its details and evidence. In Bastar, such cases are abundant.”

Narayan’s account of that day differs significantly from the police version. He said he was sitting on a cane cot in his hut, sipping black tea when half a dozen paramilitary forces approached him. He said they shot two bullets in the air to scare his neighbors away and then informed him that he was being arrested for “anti-state activities” and being a Maoist supporter.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bastar in May and witnessed the signing of multimillion-dollar agreements for Ultra Mega Steel Plants and railway lines to aid those plants. According to Shukla, there has been an escalation in such arrests since then, although official figures are not available.

Gera’s phone is constantly busy with calls from all over Bastar from people seeking her help for what they say are false arrests. “We can’t take on all the cases, even though they are equally important,” she said.  “We are happy on the days when we get less than half a dozen distress phone calls.” 

The local people have been forest dwellers, and the forest is their main source of livelihood. “Locals are with the Maoists in this. We do not want industry that would destroy our livelihoods and render us unemployed,” said a resident of Rowghat, in eastern Bastar, speaking on condition of anonymity because he fears he would be targeted by the government for speaking out. 

Bastar’s inspector general has not responded to Al Jazeera America’s questions and interview requests.


Gang-raped by police

 

NGOs have been pushing for investigations into claims of sexual violence against incarcerated women in India.Jagadeesh NV / EPA / Corbis

In January 2008, a 17-year-old girl from Sukhma district was arrested by the police for allegedly being involved in the killing of 23 paramilitary personnel. She was kept in a police station for 10 days without being charged.

There, she said, she was repeatedly gang-raped by policemen before being taken to a judge. She said that she couldn’t muster the courage to tell the judge what the police had done to her and that she was so weak, she could barely stand up.

The judge remanded her to the Jagdalpur Central Jail. For more than seven years, she was kept in a cell that held about 35 inmates. Most of the women there were detained on false charges of being Maoists, the woman, now 24, said.

She spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity because of the social stigma that rape carries.

She said the brutal rapes damaged her genitals and her intestine. “Yet I had to plead for medical care to be given to me,” she said. Whenever she did, she was taken to a doctor. But her health gradually worsened. She still experiences debilitating pain in her stomach and pelvic region.

“The problem with court proceedings of most of these cases is that the witnesses are all police personnel,” said Gera. In other parts of the country, police are allowed to be witnesses, but their testimonies are given less importance. They are expected to bring in other, objective witnesses to crimes.

Bastar, though, is India’s most militarized region. And in many cases, the only witnesses are the police. The courts are left with little choice.

Two policemen said they witnessed the girl’s criminal activities, according to official police documents. But they didn’t show up in court for her case for more than a year, claiming they were busy with work in other areas of the state or were on leave.

When they finally appeared, they said they had little information regarding her involvement, and they did not have any evidence against her.

The girl was released — acquitted for lack of evidence — in March. Now 24, she said she has only two reasons to be sad: In a country where rape is stigmatized, she believes no one will ever marry her, and she has friends in the jail who are as innocent as she and remain incarcerated.

“I wish I could do something to ensure they return safely,” she said, with tears in her eyes. 

 

Fifty-four Years In Jail Without Trial: The Plight Of Prison Inmates In India

By Parwini Zora

 

Machang Lalung, aged 77, was released from incarceration last month in the northeast Indian state of Assam after spending more than half a century behind bars awaiting trial.

Lalung had been arrested at his home village of Silsang in 1951 under section 326 of the Indian Penal Code for “causing grievous harm.” According to civil rights groups who have investigated Lalung’s case, there was no substantive evidence to support the charge against him. In any event, those found guilty of this offence typically receive sentences of no more than 10 years’ imprisonment.

Less than a year after he was taken into custody, Lalung was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in the Assamese town of Tezpur. Sixteen years later, in 1967, doctors confirmed that he was “fully fit” to be released, but instead he was transferred to Guwahati Central Jail, where he was imprisoned until this summer.

“It seems the police just forgot about him thereafter,” Assamese human rights activist Sanjay Borbora told the BBC. Borbora was among those who brought Machang’s case to the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). As a result of the Commission’s intervention and other protests, Lalung’s case was finally heard and he was released after paying a token bond of one Indian rupee.

“He is a simple villager and his life has been destroyed by a cruel system. He should sue the authorities for millions of rupees, but I do not think he is even aware he could do it,” said Borbora.

According to a Scotsman.com news report, the NHRC has taken up the cases of four other men awaiting trial in Assam: Khalilur Rehman has been in custody for 35 years, Anil Kumar Burman for 33 years, and Sonamani Deb for 32 years, while Parbati Mallik has been detained in a psychiatric unit for 32 years.

Though these individual cases have now gained media attention, the phenomenon of accused persons having to endure unconscionable delays awaiting trial is the norm in the Indian justice system. In 2002, some three quarters of all persons held in Indian prisons had not been sentenced to jail, but were “under trial”—that is, awaiting trial.

The largest number of under-trial or remand prisoners is to be found in the jails of Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, and Meghalaya, where more than 90 percent of the prison population have reportedly not faced trial.

According to a National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) study, Crime in India 2002, nearly 220,000 cases took more than 3 years to reach court, and about 25,600 exhausted 10 years before they were completed. A staggering number of prison inmates awaiting trial have already been imprisoned longer than the most rigorous sentence that they could ever be given for the offence they are alleged to have committed.


A long record of appalling conditions

Many of India’s prisons date back to the era of British colonial rule, with thousands of prisoners kept in crumbling facilities largely unchanged since the beginning of the last century. The only major all-Indian prison reform ever implemented dates back to the Indian Jails Committee of 1919-1920.

The Indian prison system perpetuates many of the injustices of the penal system set up by the British. For example, inmates of foreign origin or of high caste and social status are routinely imprisoned under relatively better conditions and segregated from those inmates who are poorer and of lower social position. Larger or less-crowded cells, access to books and newspapers, and more and better food are offered to those prisoners classified as “Status A” prisoners.

Meanwhile, the poor and especially tribal and Dalit (ex-untouchable) inmates are subject to various forms of abuse, ranging from the denial of visitors and refusal to provide medical care, to prolonged labor, sexual harassment, rape and “concealed” physical and mental torture.

“Our judicial and penal system in its actual working obviously discriminates between the rich and the poor…. If you are poor and have once landed in jail—for whatever reason or no reason—the probability of your being back in jail off and on is fairly high,” concluded Raman Nanda, who complied a prison investigation in 1981, one of the few sources of information available about the Indian prison population.

“Most of those who are nabbed by the police and are unable to have themselves bailed out are the poor. Those with resources, the big criminals, the smugglers, corrupt politicians, tax evaders are people who are rarely caught. Thus our institutions penalise not the violators of law but the poor,” stated Nanda’s study.

In the 1980s, the All India Commission for Jail Reforms (The “Mulla” Committee) found that the majority of the prison population was from a “rural and agricultural background” and that first offenders involved in “technical or minor violations of law” accounted for a large number of prisoners. Many inmates are imprisoned for non-payment of fines or an inability to afford good legal representation.

Among the worst-affected groups are women with children and the mentally ill. Female prisoners account for 3.12 percent of the total jail population and are allowed to keep their children until they reach the age of five. According to available statistics, 1,400 children younger than five are accompanying their mothers in jails.

Last year, the Pakistan-based Dawn news site quoted Zahira, a mother of two and woman prisoner in the Trihar prison, as saying, “Our fate depends on the mood of the wardens or medical officer. I didn’t have regular check-ups during my pregnancy, which is against the rules. Irfan (her infant son) was not weighed at birth. There are no cribs, baby food or warm milk.”

The absence of adequate psychiatric institutions and medical services in India contributes to the large prison population. Individuals with severe mental illnesses, branded as “non-criminal lunatics,” are often imprisoned. With many mentally vulnerable prisoners left to suffer without support in a brutal environment, it is not surprising that there is a high rate of suicides of prison inmates and police detainees. However, there is also evidence that authorities term as suicides deaths that were caused by police and jail guard abuse.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was created as a statutory body in 1993 and has since periodically issued directions about jail conditions. It suggested a prison reform bill in 1996, but this has been ignored by various governments, including those led by the Hindu-supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress and supported by the Left Front.

In fact, there is evidence that the situation facing India’s prisoners is getting worse. At the end of 2002, there were 322,357 inmates in the jails of 26 States and 6 Union Territories, although their authorised capacity was just 219,880, meaning there was overcrowding, according to the government’s own norms, of 46.6 percent.

The maximum overcrowding was recorded in the jails of Mizoram (442 percent), followed by Jharkhand (260 percent), Delhi (211 percent), Haryana (165 percent), Andaman and Nicobar (139 percent) and Chhatisgarh (115 percent). As compared to the previous year, it was noted that jail overcrowding had increased in the states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

New Delhi’s Tihar Prison, also known as the “Central Jail,” is said to be the world’s largest prison facility. Although built to house 4,000 inmates, it currently holds 12,000, 80 percent of whom are awaiting trial.

Starting with the 1991 reforms, the Indian bourgeoisie has been imposing rigorous cuts in education, health care, social services and agricultural subsidies. The unprecedented social devastation and growth of inequality that has resulted from the policies of successive Indian governments have found partial expression in the country’s growing crime rate. The police have responded to this social crisis with frequent arbitrary round-ups in poor areas and discrimination against socially vulnerable sections of the working masses.


Rising number of custodial deaths and abuse

The police repression that has accompanied the past 14 years of free-market economic reforms has caused India’s already antiquated and overstretched prison system to descend into an even greater state of chaos and human misery. According to Indian Home Ministry records, deaths while in remand or custody increased from 1,340 in 2002 to 1,462 by the end of 2003. According to an NHRC report, a large proportion of the deaths in custody were from natural and easily curable causes aggravated by poor prison conditions. Tuberculosis caused many deaths, and HIV/AIDS remained a serious health threat among prison inmates.

Non-governmental organisations that deal with prisoner abuse allege that deaths in police custody, which occurred within hours or days of initial detention, often implied violent abuse and torture. The Home Ministry reported that there were 28,765 complaints lodged against police for April 2003 for abuse including deaths. In May of last year in Ambedkarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, police arrested a daily labourer and tortured him when he failed to pay a Rs. 50,000 (US$1000) bribe. According to media reports, police admitted the victim to the hospital under a false name after injecting him in the rectum with petrol.

Police also threatened to harm his family if he reported the incident. In July 2004, the NHRC requested a report from Punjab’s Inspector General of Prisons after a man incarcerated in Amritsar’s Central Jail claimed the Deputy Superintendent and other prison officials branded him on his back when he demanded water and better treatment. Doctors found fresh scars on his back that had been inflicted with hot iron rods. By year’s end, no action had been taken.

The rape of persons in custody is also part of the broader pattern of custodial abuse. Prisoner charities argue that rape by police, including custodial rape, was more common than NHRC figures indicate, since many rape incidents go unreported due to the victims’ shame and fear of retribution.

A statement from the Asian Legal Resource Centre, on custodial deaths and torture in India, handed to the National Human Rights Commission and to the Sixty-first Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, notes: “Any person, who dares to complain about police officers in India, faces the wrath of the law enforcement agency.

Abhijnan Basu, who was serving his prison sentence at the Presidency Jail, West Bengal, was one such person who was not so lucky. Officers at the prison murdered him because he dared to complain about the inhuman conditions and the poor quality of food. Three prison wardens set him ablaze on November 12, 2004.

“Torture in India is widespread, unaccounted for and rarely prosecuted. It contributes to the state of anarchy and lawlessness in many parts of the country. Torture is used as a cheap and easy method of investigation and also as a tool for oppression. In the hands of the wealthy and influential, Indian law enforcement agencies have also strengthened links with criminal elements. Even the judiciary in India cannot sever this nexus, between police and criminals.”

The state of India’s penal and justice systems speaks volumes about the true nature of human rights and social equality in a country routinely held up by the Western media as the “world’s largest democracy.”

 

 

8 People Who Were Executed and Later Found Innocent

It’d be nice to think our judicial system is totally infallible, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit more often than anyone would like to admit, and in some cases, people who were later found to be innocent have actually been put to death.

Here are 8 people who were executed and innocent.

1. Cameron Todd Willingham—In 1992, Willingham was convicted of arson murder in Texas. He was believed to have intentionally set a fire that killed his three kids. In 2004, he was put to death. Unfortunately, the Texas Forensic Science Commission later found that the evidence was misinterpreted, and they concluded that none of the evidence used against Willingham was valid. As it turns out, the fire really was accidental.

2. Ruben Cantu—Cantu was 17 at the time the crime he was alleged of committing took place. Cantu was convicted of capital murder, and in 1993, the Texas teen was executed. About 12 years after his death, investigations show that Cantu likely didn’t commit the murder. The lone eyewitness recanted his testimony, and Cantu’s co-defendant later admitted he allowed his friend to be falsely accused. He says Cantu wasn’t even there the night of the murder.

3. Larry Griffin—Griffin was put to death in 1995 for the 1981 murder of Quintin Moss, a Missouri drug dealer. Griffin always maintained his innocence, and now, evidence seems to indicate he was telling the truth. The first police officer on the scene now says the eyewitness account was false, even though the officer supported the claims during the trial. Another eyewitness who was wounded during the attack was never contacted during the trial, and he says Griffin wasn’t present at the crime scene that night.

4. Carlos DeLuna—In 1989, DeLuna was executed for the stabbing of a Texas convenience store clerk. Almost 20 years later, Chicago Tribune uncovered evidence that shows DeLuna was likely innocent. The evidence showed that Carlos Hernandez, a man who even confessed to the murder many times, actually did the crime.

5. David Wayne Spence—Spence was put to death in 1997 for the murder of three teenagers in Texas. He was supposedly hired by a convenience store clerk to kill someone else, but he allegedly killed the wrong people by mistake. The supervising police lieutenant said “I do not think David Spence committed this crime.” The lead homicide detective agreed, saying “My opinion is that David Spence was innocent. Nothing from the investigation ever led us to any evidence that he was involved.”

6. Jesse Tafero—In 1976, Tafero was convicted of murdering a state trooper. He and Sonia Jacobs were both sentenced to death for the crime. The main evidence used to convict them was testimony by someone else who was involved in the crime, ex-convict Walter Rhodes. Rhodes gave this testimony in exchange for a life sentence. In 1990, Tafero was put to death. Two years later, his companion Jacobs was released due to a lack of evidence…the same evidence used to put Tafero to death.

7 & 8. Thomas Griffin and Meeks Griffin— The oldest case on this list dates back to 1915. The Griffin brothers, two black men, were convicted of the murder of a white man. The reason they were convicted is because Monk Stevenson, another black man suspected of committing the murder, pointed to the brothers as having been responsible. He later admitted the reason he blamed them is because they were wealthy, and he assumed they had the money to beat the charges. The Griffin brothers were completely innocent, but they were put to death nonetheless.

Presumed Guilty: After 14 wasted years in prison, life begins anew

 

n the night of 20 February 1998, in the Sadr Bazaar area of Delhi, a young man walked to the neighbourhood hakeemseeking treatment for a persistent kidney stone problem. The 18-year-old had just said his namaaz at the Madrasahwaali Masjid and, in pain, decided to walk across the desolate marketplace — by day this is one of the busiest spots in the city, but at night it empties like a sieve — even more so in the ’90s, when Indian retail did not shriek with the vehemence of today.

As the boy walked he noticed an unmarked white Maruti Gypsy sidle up along the kerb behind him. It moved slowly, prompting him to quicken his pace, though he continued to walk, staring ahead. The Gypsy overtook him and then, without warning, a pair of hands shoved him in the back. He raised his hands to protect himself from falling, but before he knew it he’d been hauled into the Gypsy. Blindfolded, hands tied and mouth gagged in a matter of seconds, trapped in a mélange of elbows, insults and accents, he was driven to a destination 40 minutes away and deposited in a room. Here he was routinely beaten, tortured, fed at the rarest possible intervals, and made to sign blank papers and disclosure agreements. There was no question of providing access to legal representation.

The boy left that room seven days later, when he was taken to Delhi’s Tees Hazari Court to be charged with 17 cases of murder, terrorism and waging war against the nation. By the time he was acquitted of the charges brought against him — the High Court ruled that any evidence connecting the accused to the bombings was “woefully absent” — Mohammed Aamir was 32 years old. He spent 14 years “ground in the mortar and pestle” of the Indian justice system (main kanoon ke chaal mein pis kar aa raha hoon). In the years before he could once again walk into the modest room in Azad Market where he was born, his father had died, his mother left mute and paralysed by a stroke.

******

Mohammad Aamir gives this account of the events of that night and the following years. The version presented by the investigative authorities to the courts is remarkably different, starting with the date Aamir was purportedly taken into custody (seven days of detainment without being presented to a judge is a violation of one of the foundational writs of the Indian Constitution, Habeas corpus; it is regularly argued in cases like this that security agencies misrepresent the date they picked up a prisoner so they are not in violation of this writ).

28 February 1998, when Aamir was produced before the Tees Hazari Court, the investigative authorities said they picked him up with an array of incriminating evidence on his person. One wonders why an 18-year-old terrorist mastermind would carry to a rendezvous — amidst a Webley & Scott revolver, live cartridges, American currency and diaries with details of explosive materials — his ration card, birth certificate, school character certificate, school identity card, and even marksheets from Class 5 and 7 from his school in Farashkhaana.

As has been reported in Two Circles (the website that broke the story) and The Hindu, the police version is pocked with allegations that only throw up more questions — the reason the cases were summarily dismissed by almost every judge they came before. The police claim that they came upon Aamir and the youth he planned the 17 bombings with, Shakeel, via two Bangladeshis they had been tracking. This version holds that they saw these two Bangladeshis leave Aamir’s house in Sadr Bazaar and so followed them to Old Delhi Railway Station, where they rendezvoused with Aamir and Shakeel (Shakeel, the other alleged “mastermind”, was found in 2009 hanging from the ceiling in his cell in Dasna Jail; later, Jail Superintendent V.K. Singh was charged with his murder). The prosecution did not make clear why Aamir and Shakeel would choose to rendezvous in a crowded railway station if the Bangladeshis were already staying with them.

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Aamir was driven to a destination and deposited in a room, where he was routinely beaten, tortured, fed at the rarest possible intervals, and made to sign blank papers and disclosure agreements.

In 1996 and ’97, a rash of “low-intensity” terrorist attacks in the National Capital Region had security agencies worried by their failure to find conclusive leads in any of the cases. There is some indication that the attacks were part of a concerted campaign; each explosive device had similar constituent ingredients. The investigators alleged that Shakeel and Aamir admitted in their respective disclosure statements to making these bombs in a small factory in Pilakhua. Yet, as the courts have now recorded, the public witnesses present during the raid on the factory in Pilakhua flatly refused to support the prosecution. Chandra Bhan, the prosecution’s “star witness”, told the court that he was taken to Chanakyapuri police station and made to sign blank papers.

Of the 17 cases brought against Mohammed Aamir, he was found Not Guilty at the Sessions Court level in 12. He was found Guilty in three cases, for which he was given life imprisonment in one (FIR 631) and 10 years in the two others. These immediately went on appeal to the High Court. On 4 August 2006, Justices Sodhi and Bhasin of the Delhi High Court, pronouncing on the case for which Aamir was given life imprisonment, said: “The prosecution has failed miserably to adduce any evidence to connect the accused-appellant with the charges framed, much less prove them. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed and the judgment of conviction…set aside.”

******

This, sadly, was not the end of Aamir’s legal trouble. In 2007, when he was close to completing the 10 years mandated (notwithstanding that both cases remained on appeal), two more cases were brought to trial, this time for bombings in Rohtak and Ghaziabad. Proper procedure suggests these cases should have been initiated when Aamir was first incarcerated, in 1998. Holding off until 2007 meant he was forced to remain in police custody even after he completed his ten years inside, something his lawyer, N.D. Pancholi, terms “customary mischief-making”. It was only in January 2012, when those cases were completed — he was found Not Guilty again — that he was allowed to return home.

By coincidence, the same week Aamir was released, The New Yorker published Adam Gopnik’s remarkable report on patterns of incarceration in the United States (“The Caging of America”, 30 January 2012). From the introduction: “A prison is a trap for catching time. It isn’t the horror of the time at hand but the unimaginable sameness of the time ahead that makes prisons unendurable for their inmate. What prisoners try to convey to the free is how the presence of time as something being done to you, instead of something you do things with, alters the mind at every moment.” Aamir’s 14 years in prison, on charges refuted adamantly from the outset, devastated his life and ambitions in ways hard for us to comprehend.

Sitting in the same small room with cracking walls in Sadr Bazaar that the authorities called a terrorist hideout and he calls home, Aamir tells the tale of his incarceration: “After my first appearance, at the Tees Hazari court in ’98, I was put on remand for 10 days, so I was taken to a police station. After they had elicited ‘admissions’ that I was involved in all the blasts in the NCR between ’96 and ’98, I was moved from station to station, still on remand, because they wanted to file FIRs in each of the cases. This went on for two and half months. When finally in April or May I was sent to Tihar Jail it came as a huge relief. To be in police remand is the worst — first they do their ‘questioning’, where I’m sure you know what all takes place. In jail it is better. In the police station, even at night, the guys guarding your cell will come and abuse you, kick you around a bit, call you ‘katua’.

“I then spent almost nine years in Tihar Jail, where I managed to do some reading about my legal circumstances.” He pulls out two tattered books, the Constitution of India and a book of legal norms, both in Hindi, and a purple folder of see-through plastic filled with carefully highlighted and annotated legal papers. Picking up the Constitution, Aamir says: “The thing is, I still have a lot of faith in this document. I have not been to college, but I have read this book from cover to cover and I know it can protect those who need it. It is people who ruin what this book stands for. Actually, even that is too harsh. During my 14 years inside the system I met all kinds of people — some people were very good to me. Some were terrible. There are all kinds of people on earth, that is something I have learned.

“Then I was sent to Ghaziabad’s Dasna Jail, which was even tougher. I spent more than three years there, and perhaps 90% of the time was spent in high-security, normal procedure for people booked in terrorism cases. You have to spend 22 out of 24 hours in absolute isolation. For months on end you barely communicate with anyone at all.”

Gopnik quotes in his article an essay Charles Dickens wrote in 1842 upon visiting a solitary confinement wing in an American prison: “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay.”

The effects of this prolonged — and, the courts now agree, unjust — detainment on Aamir are discernible during longer conversations. He has a stilted way of talking, and his face will periodically break into a nervous smile. If making a long point, he sometimes loses the thread as he speaks. “I’ve noticed these since I got out. The doctor tells me I have high blood pressure now, and that I should try and get psychiatric counselling. I lose my temper from time to time” — this is harder to imagine, as he is exceedingly polite with us — “and shout at my nephew. It’s been hard not to be able to talk to my mother. I would like to hear from her lips that she is happy I am out. But, bechaari, she cannot say anything.”

******

This past Wednesday, in the sylvan quiet of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, I meet N.D. Pancholi, the High Court lawyer arguing Aamir’s two pending appeals. It is perhaps an appropriate venue — J.P. Narayan was arrested from this spot in 1975, at the outset of the Emergency.

“It doesn’t matter who is in power,” he says. “The government very rarely exercises the control they should. They heed the security agencies, with their ears and eyes shut to anyone else — instead of directing them, the government is directed.”

“I have been working on cases like this for 20 or so years now. Aamir’s case is sad, but one of many.” Ferozekhan Ghazi, Aamir’s lawyer at the Sessions Court level, agrees: “After ’95, these cases began to proliferate. I’ve worked on somewhere between 30 and 40 cases of this nature and have won acquittals in most. Remarkably, every Kashmiri whose case I’ve worked on has been acquitted — boys who came to the capital as businessmen and carpet sellers, picked up by the authorities and left to languish in jail for years.”

So is the situation as bad as ever? Pancholi says things have become better since POTA [the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002] was repealed. “Now most cases will be charged under the Unlawful Activities Act, or what Aamir was charged of, waging war against the nation. The number of cases might have reduced, but it is still a prevalent practice.”

Mohammed Aamir was also lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

On a national level, the most deleterious consequence of such mala fide practices is their undercutting of resources, manpower and intelligence that should be used to prevent acts of terrorism in India. One tactic is to paint certain communities in a threatening light; Azamgarh was first pointed to as a hotbed of terrorist activity. Then, just after the High Court blasts in September, reports in all the leading newspapers, citing unnamed security sources, said Madhubani (in Bihar) was India’s new “breeding ground of terror”. Within weeks, Delhi Police arrested seven young Muslim migrants from Madhubani and charged them with involvement in the blasts. All seven, including the alleged “mastermind” were released in January, after the National Investigative Agency demanded the right to question them and exonerated them of all charges.

Muslim activists argue that such wanton arrests do little to curtail terrorist activity, and investigators ignore more dangerous threats to the integrity of the country. One activist, who asked for anonymity, said: “Can someone tell me why the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an organisation that has been responsible for deaths over the world, is allowed to hold meetings in the heart of Delhi, on Lodhi Road? This organisation demands an Islamic kingdom uniting all Muslim countries. Indian Muslims have never espoused such politics — this is a genuinely worrying development. And our security agencies know all about them, yet don’t stop them from meeting. Why is that?”

All the while, the Congress party continues to play its insidious double game with the Muslims of India, on the one hand sending stooges in skullcaps to places like Azamgarh to talk of tears shed and sorrows appropriated, on the other allowing the varied wings of its security forces to freely indulge in a deadly regime of religious profiling.

******

From the same purple folder containing his legal documents Mohammed Aamir pulls out a sheet of paper and hands it to me. “While I was in Ghaziabad prison, I won a competition for essay writing. I wrote on Mahatma Gandhi — I had just finished reading Experiments with Truth — and I beat every other prisoner in UP who took part. They took me to the Central Jail in Lucknow, where the Superintendent gave me Rs 200 and a T-shirt. I know these do not seem big things, but when you are in prison, the Superintendent is the badshaah, and we are all his ghulaam. If the badshaah says one good word to you, you feel great. Here, on that day, he talked to me with respect, even treated me as an equal.”

It is haunting, this eagerness Aamir has to impress upon me his patriotism and respect for government authority. This system proscribed an extended and systematic reversal of his most basic human rights, yet Aamir speaks with the fervour of one who has tasted its bitterest truths. It is clear he cannot countenance another encounter. Perhaps this is one way to birth patriotism. I feel a sudden urge to throw his words in the face of every stalwart who can casually question the fidelity of 150 million citizens of India.

“I tried to spend my time in prison constructively,” he says. “There are so many bad influences, but I tried to read and learn as much as I could. I kept faith that once I was out of this mess I would get a good job. That my country would once again treat me as its own.”

Justice Delayed- Justice Denied

–        Bhaskar De

 

“Without Justice, life would not be possible and even if it were it would not be worth living” ……Giorgio Del Vecchio (Justice)

Notion as theory of law can be defined as a study based on presupposes or ideal which a men seek for its realization through law, called as Theory of Justice. The word justice has been derived from the actual concept of justness which acts as the primordial factor for any state to provide for its populace. The concept of justice was vitiated with various welfare, moral and psychological factors. Harmonious surveillance of these three features acts as a social tool, which makes justice accessible to all.

Justice is a generic term, which includes both procedural (Natural) and substantive (Social) justice. In India, justice has been adorned as the very embodiment of God, whose sole mission is to uphold justice, truth and righteousness. Under our Indian constitution Justice sets the ultimate goal for all of us to serve our nation. It is a mixture of natural and social justice as evident from Preamble and Part IV of our constitution. The concept of Justice being so important is used only twice in our Indian Constitution, i.e. in Preamble and in Art 39 A.

In Preamble it sets out as- to secure to all its citizens- Justice- Social, economic and political and Article 39 A states that the state to secure equal justice and free legal aid for the citizens.

Our current stress on justice itself is a reminder of the fact that justice is not available to us.

II. Democracy And Indian Judiciary

In a democratic country like India, judiciary plays a vital role in establishing a state of justice. Therefore being the watchdog, they are not allowed to shift their burden to others for their failure to establish an actual State of Justice. It is judiciary on which millions of people have struck their faith of getting justice. It has the capability of imparting justice to the aggrieved. It is that part of our constitution which acts as its Messiah. It is that structure of our society, which cemented its place next to the God and if not properly dispensed will shatter down the entire trinity of democratic instrumentalists with checks balances, parliamentary structure and the judicial facets of our constitution. Generally, aggrieved with lots of pain anguish and hope in their heart approaches the court of law for their grievances to be clarified but at the end of the day the procedural lacuna left them with bare hands. They are denied of their most important right of Justice.
In India, Justice is beyond the reach of most and the right of access to it is not communicated to the citizens properly. In many a circumstances it was found that the litigant who has had access to the court failed to obtain quick relief and for some never have the opportunity even to knock the doors of the court due to ignorance and poverty. If we want justice to be accessible to all, then it must be relieved from the Laissez faire pattern, where justice like other commodity can be purchased and initiative must be taken to educate the populace.

Quest for justice has nothing to do with procedure or jurisdictional aspect rather it cares for its speedy disposal. Delay in disposal of cases is considered as one of the most vexed and worrying problem. It is the code of procedures, which makes it so worse. However personality like Nani Phalkiwala opined that Justice in common parlance is considered as blind but in India it is lame too and hobbles on crutches. It is on the verge of collapse with more than 30 million cases clogging the system. There are cases that take so much of time that even a generation is too short to get any type of redressal.

Procedures must be utilized to advance the cause of justice but in India it is used to thwart it. Justice is something which should be dispensed as early as possible otherwise it will be too late for a critic to add a common adage to that Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. Current situation shows that it will take more than 300 years to clear the backlog of cases in Indian courts. In Anil Rai vs. State of Bihar case, Sethi J stated that Delay in disposal of the cases facilitates the people to raise eyebrows, sometime genuinely, which if not checked, may shake the confidence of the people in this judicial system. Thereafter this problem of delay in justice delivery system had engaged attention of our law commission for a quite a long time. To cope up with this situation they have proposed several amendments. But the position retains unchanged.

III. Reasons For Delay In Disposal Of Cases

Firstly, Increase in litigation-people now days are in a habit of dragging their point of grievances to the court of law, which rather can be solved outside the purview of the court. Secondly, non-adherence with the code properly by the judges and the lawyers both add to same cause in a greater extent. Thirdly, the judicial system is not equipped with actual number of judges required so. Fourthly, Government can be termed for contributing maximum to the backlog.
While it can be understood that delay may occur in the civil cases but the same is not expected in the criminal proceedings. If we compare these two on the basis of its disposal then it is very much advent that criminal justice system is at its worst and this position leads to a situation where the common man had lost its complete trust on the efficacy of the criminal redressal system.

While B.P.Singh J gave an approx statistics showing an average disposal and pendency of cases which would rather reveal the actual state of justice in India today:
On average 50 lakh crimes are registered every year, which are sought to be investigated by the police. The pendency of criminal cases in subordinate courts is 1.32 crore and the effective strength of judges is 12,177. Pending cases of the under trials in criminal cases are 1.44 crores. In an average 19 percent of the pending cases, disposed every year.

Delayed decisions, piled up files and indefinitely extending projects, never serve their purpose. They are the real roadblocks to development of any state or nation. Generally, delayed decisions take its maximum toll from the under privileged section as Poor section of our society, who were always treated as animals. They are often denied of their bare amenities of life.

Consider the condition of the poor victims of Bhopal gas Leak disaster, which took a toll of 15000 people. Twenty years had passed to that ghastly incident; still now victims were fighting for its compensation, which fails to measure up the damage caused to them. Consider the terrible situation occurred in August 1991 as massacre of Dalits at Tsundur in Andhra Pradesh. 13 years had passed to that incident, the families of the victims of Tsundur, still await justice for those who died. They say, they will not find any peace until the guilty are punished for their crime. Consider the condition of those girls who were brutally gang raped during the Godhra riots in front of their helpless family members. Consider the case of Jessica lal, where Delhi police yet to grab Manu Sharma, key accused, still able to safeguard himself from the clutches of the judicial administration. Still her family members await justice to be delivered. Consider the victims of Best Bakery case who still awaits justice to be dispensed in their favour but the climax starts with the key witness in the case turned hostile and the entire fate of the Bakery case is in turmoil. Today the victims of the all the above-enumerated cases know full well that the price of truth is extremely high.
Still they are waiting…

But for what?
Whether all these amounts to justice?

IV. Conclusion
Social justice will be possible only if the entire concept of egalitarian politico-social order is followed, where no one is exploited, where every one is liberated and where every one is equal and free from Hunger and poverty. The proverb ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ is proved as it is denied to the poorest of the poor. Providing basic necessities to them will amount to Justice because the definition of justice varies from individuals to individuals on the basis of its economic conditions. According to B.P.Singh J the situation today is so grim that if a poor is able to reach to the stage of a high court, it should be considered as an achievement.

At this juncture the author is of the opinion that judiciary obviously owes an obligation to deliver quick and inexpensive justice irrespective of the complicated procedures but it cannot be hurried to be buried. Cases should be decided for imparting justice not for the sake of its disposal. Secondly, Arbitration procedure must be utilized as a better option for quick disposal of cases. Finally, to conclude with the words of Lord Hewet as it is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

 

 

Delayed justice: When judgement day arrives too late

It is high time the SC adopts a system to keep track of reserved judgements in the interest of the public

 

The heavy backlog of cases and delays in the Indian judicial system are once again the topic of much discussion, with everything from government callousness to over-litigiousness to judicial activism being blamed for the 35 million cases pending in the courts at all levels.

There are actually two separate but related problems being spoken about: the problem of delay and the problem of high pendency.

Various factors are responsible for the problems, and in order to address them, it is essential to study the data in depth to try and identify what are their causes.

A recent survey of litigants conducted by Daksh, a civil society organization that undertakes research and activities to promote accountability and better governance in India, showed that more than 60% of the respondents believed that the delay in their own cases was due to the judge not passing orders quickly enough.

While this relates to ongoing cases, it is a reflection of the perception among a large section of the population. It may not be entirely correct on the part of the litigant to attribute all the delay to the judge since the lawyer and the other party are also part of the proceedings.

However, there is one stage where the responsibility for delay (if any) can be placed solely on the judge—delivery of judgement after arguments are complete. When a case is heard in depth and arguments are advanced by both parties, more often than not, the judge “reserves judgement”—to examine the arguments, do research and write the judgement before delivering it in an open court.

While the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, applicable to civil courts, states that judgements should be delivered within 30 days of arguments being closed, no such time restriction is found in the context of Section 353 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974, which prescribes the manner in which a judgement is to be delivered in a criminal case.

No provisions exist for the time to be taken in delivering judgements by the high courts and the Supreme Court.

The need for a time limit for delivering the judgement is not just to avoid delay, but also to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

A judge who takes too long to deliver judgements after hearing arguments may have forgotten some of the arguments or remembered them incorrectly to the detriment of the parties.

   The slow moving wheels of Indian judiciary


 

For this reason, even though no procedural law prescribes so, the Supreme Court has held in Anil Rai vs State of Bihar case that parties can file an application in the high court seeking an early judgement if it’s not delivered within three months of it being reserved. If it’s not delivered more than six months after being reserved, parties have a right to have it re-heard before a different bench of the high court.

Does the Supreme Court itself adhere to this timeline?

I looked at the judgements delivered by the Supreme Court in 2015, of which 487 contained details of the date on which the order was reserved and the date on which the judgement was delivered.

While some of the remaining judgements were dictated in open court, the others had no details of when the judgement was reserved and so haven’t been included in this study. The time taken to deliver the judgement in these 487 cases is shown in the chart above.

While judgements were delivered within 30 days in 62% of the cases, in at least 85 cases (17%), the Supreme Court failed to adhere to the informal timeline it had laid down for the high courts. In 12% of the cases, the court took more than 120 days to deliver its judgement after having reserved it. The average time taken to deliver judgements in 2015 was 55 days and the median time was 21 days.

While the median time would suggest that the Supreme Court by and large delivers judgements within a month of arguments concluding, the number of cases where the delay is long and unexplained are not insubstantial. In nine cases, the judgement was delivered more than one year after being reserved, with the maximum time taken being 566 days.

Although all the cases in which it took more than one year to deliver the judgement were civil appeals, a broader picture suggests that there is no substantial difference between civil and criminal appeals when it came to the time taken to deliver the judgements.

The difference in the average length of time taken to deliver judgements in civil appeals cases as compared to criminal appeals cases can possibly be attributed to the fact that of the 20 judgements which took the most time to be delivered, only two are criminal appeals. In a criminal appeal, the maximum time taken to deliver a judgement after having reserved it was 325 days.

What the numbers show is that while a judgement is delivered within time in a bulk of the cases, there are a significant number that are slipping through the cracks and taking up much longer than they should.

In the recent past, judgements in two cases that involved highly important questions of law were delivered more than a year after the judgement was reserved.

When Subramanian Swamy sought a direction from the court to the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to grant sanction to prosecute telecom minister A. Raja for corruption in the 2G spectrum case, the court took 433 days to deliver its judgement after having reserved it.

In the Naz Foundation case concerning the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the judgement was delivered 624 days later, or more than 20 months after being reserved.

The relatively large number of cases where the judgement is delivered more than 90 days after being reserved by the bench suggest the absence of a system to keep track of how long a case has been reserved for judgement.

From the information available on the Supreme Court website, it is not possible to determine with any accuracy how many judgements have been reserved and for how long.

A recent Right to Information application seeking details of cases that have been reserved for judgement was denied by the Supreme Court.

Ironically enough, the Supreme Court has prescribed precisely such a monitoring mechanism for high courts in the Anil Rai vs State of Bihar case to ensure that too much time doesn’t elapse before a judgement is delivered.

Given that the Supreme Court itself has slipped in ensuring the timely delivery of judgement to litigants, it is high time perhaps that the apex court adopts a system to keep track of reserved judgements in the interests of transparency and accountability to the litigating public.

 

 

In search of lost time

By Uzma Falak

https://indiapoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/a-chronicle-of-a-kashmiri-man-acquitted-after-more-than-18-years-of-incarceration/ 

 

Indian System of Bail – Anti Poor

–       Urvashi Saikumar 

 

Justice as we know was a right fundamental to all, but it’s fallacy is evident, as money now results in its fall

Objectively analyzed the criminal jurisprudence adopted by India is a mere reflection of the Victorian legacy left behind by the Britishers. The passage of time has only seen a few amendments once in a while to satisfy pressure groups and vote banks. Probably no thought has been given whether these legislations, which have existed for almost seven decades, have taken into account the plight and the socio-economic conditions of 70% of the population of this country which lives in utter poverty. India being a poverty stricken developing country needed anything but a blind copy of the legislations prevalent indeveloped
western countries.

The concept of bail, which is an integral part of the criminal jurisprudence, also suffers from the above stated drawbacks. Bail is broadly used to refer to the release of a person charged with an offence, on his providing a security that will ensure his presence before the court or any other authority whenever required.

Meaning of Bail

Bail, in law, means procurement of release from prison of a person awaiting trial or an appeal, by the deposit of security to ensure his submission at the required time to legal authority. The monetary value of the security, known also as the bail, or, more accurately, the bail bond, is set by the court having jurisdiction over the prisoner. The security may be cash, the papers giving title to property, or the bond of private persons of means or of a professional bondsman or bonding company. Failure of the person released on bail to surrender himself at the appointed time results in forfeiture of the security. The law lexicon[1] defines bail as the security for the appearance of the accused person on which he is released pending trial or investigation.

Courts have greater discretion to grant or deny bail in the case of persons under criminal arrest, e.g., it is usually refused when the accused is charged with homicide.

What is contemplated by bail is to “procure the release of a person from legal custody, by undertaking that he/she shall appear at the time and place designated and submit him/herself to the jurisdiction and judgment of the court.” [2]

A reading of the above definition make it evident that money need not be a concomitant of the bail system. As already discussed above, the majority of the population in rural India, lives in the thrall of poverty and destitution, and don’t even have the money to earn one square meal a day. Yet, they are still expected to serve a surety even though they have been charged with a bailable offence where the accused is entitled to secure bail as a matter of right. As a result, a poor man languishes behind bars, subject to the atrocities of the jail authorities rubbing shoulders with hardened criminals and effectively being treated as a convict.

History of Bail
The concept of bail can traced back to 399 BC, when Plato tried to create a bond for the release of Socrates. The modern bail system evolved from a series of laws originating in the middle ages in England.

Evolution in England
There existed a concept of circuit courts during the medieval times in Britain. Judges used to periodically go ?on circuit? to various parts of the country to decide cases. The terms Sessions and Quarter Sessions are thus derived from the intervals at which such courts were held. In the meanwhile, the under trials were kept in prison awaiting their trials. These prisoners were kept in very unhygienic and inhumane conditions this was caused the spread of a lot of diseases. This agitated the undertrials, who were hence separated from the accused. This led to their release on their securing a surety, so that it was ensured that the person would appear on the appointed date for hearing. If he did not appear then his surety was held liable and was made to face trial. Slowly the concept of monetary bail came into existence and the said undertrials was asked to give a monetary bond, which was liable to get forfeited on non-appearance.

In The Magna Carta, in 1215, the first step was taken in granting rights to citizens. It said that no man could be taken or imprisoned without being judged by his peers or the law of the land.

Then in 1275, the Statute of Westminster was enacted which divided crimes as bailable and non bailable. It also determined which judges and officials could make decisions on bail.

In 1677, the Habeas Corpus Act was added to the Right Of Petition of 1628, which gave the right to the defendant the right to be told of the charges against him, the right to know if the charges against him were bailable or not. The Habeas Corpus Act, 1679 states, “A Magistrate shall discharge prisoners from their Imprisonment taking their Recognizance, with one or more Surety or Sureties, in any Sum according to the Magistrate’s discretion, unless it shall appear that the Party is committed for such Matter offenses for which by law the Prisoner is not bailable.”

In 1689 came The English Bill Of Rights, which provided safeguards against judges setting bail too high. It stated that “excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases, to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects. Excessive bail ought not to be required.”

Current Practice
In 1976 the Bail Act 1976 came into force. It sets out the current and the basic legal position of bail prevailing in England. It lays out that there is a general right to bail, except as provided for under the First Schedule of the Act. While there are different grounds for refusing the right to bail depending on the type of offence, for all imprison able offences the two basic grounds are as set out by the O’Callaghan decision. But there is also the additional ground that if the court is satisfied that there are “substantial grounds for believing” that the defendant if released on bail will commit an offence while on bail, bail may be refuse.
Under section 5(3) of the Bail Act 1976 the court which withholds bail is required to give reasons, so that the defendant can consider making an application.[3] In practice, however, the reasons given by English courts on a variety of standard forms are frequently short and not explicitly based upon particular facts and factors. Stone’s Justices’ Manual suggests that magistrates announce any decision to refuse bail merely by relating the grounds and statutory reasons in short form.[4]

English administrative law also requires that, where there is an existing obligation to give reasons for a decision, the reasons given be clear and adequate, and deal with the substantial issues in the case.[5]

The English courts use tick boxes for recording the grounds and the reasons for not granting bail. There is a use of a standard pattern that which lists out the various reasons for not granting the bail. These forms vary in their precise configuration, but in substance they are all the same as all of them set out the grounds for refusing bail in one column, and a number of possible reasons for the findings those grounds established in another column. The decision is recorded by ticking the relevant box in each column. But the decisions recorded on standard forms might be at risk of being characterised as “abstract” or “stereotyped”, and therefore inadequate. The quality of the reasons given directly reflects the quality of the decision-making process.

Evolution in America
According to the San Francisco News and the SF Chronicle, the first modern Bail Bonds business in the United States, the system by which a person pays a percentage to a professional bondsman who puts up the cash as a guarantee that the person will appear in court, was established by Tom and Peter P. McDonough in San Francisco in 1898. Infact, this was the same year that the Bill of Rights was introduced in England, and the Congress passed the Judiciary Act. This specified which types of crimes were bailable and set bounds on a judge’s discretion in setting bail. The Act states that all non-capital crimes are bailable and that in capital cases the decision to detain a suspect, prior to trial, was to be left to the judge. In 1791 The Bill Of Rights was incorporated into Constitution of the United States, through the 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments, guaranteeing citizens the right to due process of law, a fair and speedy trial and protection against excessive bail. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that “excessive bail shall not be required,” but it does not provide any absolute right to bail.

 

Current Practice
Under current law, a defendant has the right to bail unless there is sufficient reason not to grant it. The main reasons for refusing bail according to the Bail Act 1976 are that there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant (1) will abscond; (2) will commit further offences whilst on bail; or (3) will interfere with witnesses. Conditions may be applied to the grant of bail, such as living at a particular address or, rarely, paying an amount into court or having someone act as surety. Release on bail is sometimes referred to as police bail, where the release was by the police rather than by a court.

The alternative to being granted bail is being remanded into custody (also called being held on remand).

In America, every accused person is entitled to a hearing at which evidence relevant to his individual case is considered to determine the amount of bail necessary. No precise rule can be laid down that will determine the amount of bail required in any particular instance. Bail is to be fixed according to the circumstances of each case. The matter is generally one for the sound discretion of the trial court. Although the determination of the trial court is subject to the review in the appellate courts for abuse of discretion, ordinarily the appellate courts will not interfere if the amount set by the trial court is reasonable and not excessive.

The amount of a bond should, of course, be sufficient to assure the attendance of the defendant upon the court when it is required. The bond should be fixed in such amount that will exact vigilance on the part of the sureties to see that the defendant appears in court when called.[6]

Both the Federal Constitution and state constitutions contain provisions against excessive bail. Bail set at an amount higher than reasonably calculated to insure that the accused will appear to stand trial and submit to sentence if convicted is excessive, and falls within the proscription of the Federal Constitution if set by a federal court, or of the particular state’s constitution if set by a state court. But no hard-and-fast rules for determining what is reasonable bail and what is excessive bail have been laid down. That the bail is reasonable which, in view of the nature of the offense, the penalty attached to the offense, and the probability of guilt of defendant, seems no more than sufficient to secure attendance of the defendant.[7]

The amount of bail, in and of itself, is not finally determinative of excessiveness. What would be reasonable bail in the case of one defendant may be excessive in the case of another.[8] As indicated below, such matters as the past criminal record of the defendant, and the nature of the crime committed and the punishment therefore, are material factors in determining whether bail is excessive.

Where two or more cased are pending against a defendant, the fact that bail in one case, considered by itself, is reasonable, does not prevent the collective amount required in the several cases from being excessive.

The gist of the problem confronting a court in setting the amount of bail is to place the amount high enough to reasonably assure the presence of defendant when it is required, and at the same time to avoid a figure higher than that reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose, and therefore excessive. The general rule in federal courts is to try to strike a balance between the need for a tie to the jurisdiction and the right to freedom from unnecessary restraint before conviction, under the circumstances surrounding each particular accused.[9] In other words, in determining the amount of bail, the good of the public as well as the rights of the accused should be kept in mind.

The Bail Reform Act of 1966 provides for the release of defendant on his personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judicial officer before whom he appears, unless the officer determines, in the exercise of his discretion, that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of defendant as required, in which event specified conditions of release which will reasonably assure defendant’s appearance for trial may be imposed. The Bail Reforms Act, 1966 was initiated by President Johnson who felt that under the Federal Rules, bail in an amount higher than reasonably calculated to be necessary to assure the presence of the accused is excessive.

It has been stated that the factors to be taken into consideration in determining the amount of bail are:
(1) ability of the accused to give bail,
(2) nature of offense,
(3) penalty for the offense charged,
(4) character and reputation of the accused,
(5) health of the accused,
(6) character and strength of the evidence,
(7) probability of the accused appearing at trial,
(8) forfeiture of other bonds, and
(9) whether the accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested. [10]

That the accused is under bond for appearance at trial in other cases should also be considered.

A major factor in determining the amount of bail in a current matter is the character and former criminal record of the defendant. It has been held, however, that the criminal activities and tendencies of a person applying for bail on a charge of vagrancy do not justify the fixing of bail at an excessive amount for the purpose of keeping him in jail.

In determining the amount of bail, voluntary surrender may be considered as an indication that the defendant has no intention of absconding from justice. On the other hand, it is also proper, in setting a higher bail figure, to take into consideration the fact that at the time of arrest the accused was a fugitive from justice, or the fact that the defendant has previously absconded while under indictment.

Even where bail is a matter of right, the fact that a person has previously forfeited bail is a factor to be considered in determining the amount of bail; in such a case bail may be set in such amount as will reasonably assure the presence of the defendant at court, although bail may not be refused altogether.[11] In setting the bail, the court may also consider the behavior or misbehavior of the defendant during parole from prison on a previous criminal conviction.

The probability of the establishment of guilt at the trial, or the existence of doubt as to the guilt of the accused, is a proper consideration in determining the amount of bail. Hence a court, in determining the amount of bail, may consider the character and strength of the evidence by which the crime charged is supported.

A court should give some regard to the prisoner’s pecuniary circumstances, since what is reasonable bail to a man of wealth may be equivalent to a denial of the right to bail if exacted of a poor man charged with a like offense.[12] An accused cannot be denied release from detention because of indigence, but is constitutionally entitled to be released on his personal recognizance where other relevant factors make it reasonable to believe that he will comply with the orders of the court.[13]

However, bail is not rendered excessive by the mere inability of the accused to procure bail in the amount required. In other words, the extent of the pecuniary ability of the accused to furnish bail in not controlling, if it were, the fixing of any amount, no matter how small, where the accused had no means of his own and no friends who were able or willing to become sureties for him, would constitute a case of excessive bail, and would entitle him to got at large on his own recognizance. It is the incarceration of those individuals who cannot meet established money bail requirements, without meaningful consideration of other possible alternatives, which infringes on both due process and equal protection requirements.

The current American position is stated as follows in a standard treatise “There is power in the court to release the defendant without bail or on his own recognition.”

The Legal Position in India

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C. hereinafter), does not define bail, although the terms bailable offence and non-bailable offence have been defined in section 2(a) Cr.P.C. as follows: ” Bailable offence means an offence which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule or which is made bailable by any other law for the time being enforce, and non-bailable offence means any other offence”. Further, ss. 436 to 450 set out the provisions for the grant of bail and bonds in criminal cases. The amount of security that is to be paid by the accused to secure his release has not been mentioned in the Cr.P.C.. Thus, it is the discretion of the court to put a monetary cap on the bond. Unfortunately, it has been seen that courts have not been sensitive to the economic plight of the weaker sections of society. The unreasonable and exorbitant amounts demanded by the courts as bail bonds clearly show their callous attitude towards the poor.
According to the 78th report of the Law Commission as on April 1, 1977, of a total prison population of 1,84,169, as many as 1,01,083 (roughly 55%) were under-trials. For specific jails, some other reports show: Secunderabad Central Jail- 80 per cent under-trials; Surat-78 per cent under-trials; Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya-66 per cent under-trials.

One of the reasons for this is, as already mentioned above, is the large scale poverty amongst the majority of the population in our country. Fragmentation of land holdings is a common phenomenon in rural India. A family consisting of around 8 ? 10 members depends on a small piece of land for their subsistence, which also is a reason for disguised unemployment. When one of the members of such a family gets charged with an offence, the only way they can secure his release and paying the bail is by either selling off the land or giving it on mortgage. This would further push them more into the jaws of poverty. This is the precise reason why most of the under trials languish in jail instead of being out on bail.

Judicial Trend
An overview of the following cases highlight the adverse condition of the poor with regard to the unjust bail system in India. In State of Rajasthan v Balchand[14], the accused was convicted by the trial court. When he went on appeal the High Court, it acquitted him. The State went on appeal to the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Art. 136 of the Constitution through a special leave petition. The accused was directed to surrender by the court. He then filed for bail. It was then for the first time that Justice Krishna Iyer raised his voice against this unfair system of bail administration. He said that though while the system of pecuniary bail has a tradition behind it, a time for rethinking has come. It may well be that in most cases an undertaking would serve the purpose.

In Moti Ram and Ors. v State of M.P [15], the accused who was a poor mason was convicted. The apex court had passed a sketchy order, referring it to the Chief Judicial Magistrate to enlarge him on bail, without making any specifications as to sureties, bonds etc. The CJM assumed full authority on the matter and fixed Rs. 10,000 as surety and bond and further refused to allow his brother to become a surety as his property was in the adjoining village. MR went on appeal once more to the apex court and Justice Krishna Iyer condemned the act of the CJM, and said that the judges should be more inclined towards bail and not jail.
In Maneka Gandhi v Union of India [16], Justice Krishna Iyer once again spoke against the unfair system of bail that was prevailing in India. No definition of bail has been given in the code, although the offences are classified as bailable and non-bailable. Further Justice P.N.Bhagwati also spoke about how unfair and discriminatory the bail system is when looked at from the economic criteria of a person this discrimination arises even if the amount of bail fixed by the magistrates isn’t high for some, but a large majority of those who are brought before the courts in criminal cases are so poor that they would
find it difficult to furnish bail even if it’s a small amount.

Further in Hussainara Khatoon and others v. Home Sec,State of Bihar [17] , the Court laid down the ratio that when the man is in jail for a period longer than the sentence he is liable for then he should be released.

Conclusion
A perusal of the above cases highlights the strong anti-poor bias of the Indian criminal justice system. Even though the courts in some cases have tried to intervene and also have laid down certain guidelines to be followed but unfortunately nothing has been done about it. There is also a strong need felt for a complete review of the bail system keeping in mind the socio-economic condition of the majority of our population. While granting bail the court must also look at the socio-economic plight of the accused and must also have a compassionate attitude towards them. A proper scrutiny may be done to determine whether the accused has his roots in the community which would deter him from fleeing from the court. The court can take into account the following facts concerning the accused before granting him bail:
(1) The nature of the offence committed by the accused.
(2) The length of his residence in the community.
(3) His employment status history and his financial condition.
(4) His family ties and relationships.
(5) His reputation character and monetary conditions.
(6) His prior criminal records, including any record or prior release on recognizance or on bail.
(7) Identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for his reliability.
(8) The nature of the offence charged and the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence in so far as these factors are relevant to the risk of non-appearance.
(9) Any other factors indicating the ties of the accused to the community or barring on the risk of willful failure to appear.

 

The Way Forward
It is thought that from the various schemes the government operates for rural employment, loans to farmers etc, a portion of the funds which it transfers to the panchayat for developmental work of the same should be set aside and kept to meet the bail amount for undertrials belonging to the particular panchayat / block. The utilization of this fund would be in the hands of the elected leaders of the society with the representative of district collector / district magistrate being a part of the system. This would, go a long way in securing freedom for scores of undertrials who would then be able to contribute to society thereby
playing an important role and forming part of the national mainstream. Such a scenario will have the effect of reducing the burden of over-crowding in jail.
The setting up of separate jails, or at any rate isolating undertrials from convicts, would prevent hardened criminals from exercising their deleterious influence over undertrials. Such segregation would also change the attitude of jail authorities and society at large towards under trials.

The under trials who have been charged with petty crimes can further be put in reformative homes instead and asked to do community service till the time they are released on bail. Elementary education facilities must be granted to those under trials who are uneducated and illiterate. Thus, I feel that the benefit of bail should not only be in the hands of a few, but, should be available to the masses including those who do not have the financial capacity to afford it.

 

 

 

15 judicial officers compulsorily retired by Allahabad HC in UP

 

In a major action, 15 judicial officers in Uttar Pradesh have been punished with compulsory retirement by theAllahabad High Court for “doubtful integrity”, “negligence” and “poor performance”.

The decision was taken at a “Full Court” meeting presided by Chief Justice of the High Court D Y Chandrachud held in Lucknow on April 14, S K Singh, the Registrar General of the High Court, said.

12 Additional District Judges (ADJs) and three Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates (ACJMs) were “divested of their charges and stopped from functioning on their respective posts” with immediate effect while a communique to this effect was sent to the state government, he said.

A 10 per cent curtailment in the pension of a retired officer Ashok Kumar Saxena, against whom there were serious complaints, has also been announced, the registrar said.

The ADJs – who were posted in different districts of the state and have been given compulsory retirement are – Shaileshwar Nath Singh, Bans Raj, Ram Murti Yadav, Dhruv Raj, Jagdish, Naresh, V P Kandpal, A K Ganesh, Arvind Kumar, Avinash Chandra, A K Dwivedi and M M Khan while the three ACJMs are Kishore Kumar, S S Singh and Shyam Shankar.

 

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