surrendered Maoist’ (re:Questionable legality of the Surrender Process in Chhattisgarh’ in the Counter-currents website of May 23, 2017), not only re-iterates the well-established notorious role of the Indian police in framing innocent people, but also throws light on the role of the judiciary, which unwittingly, indirectly, or purposefully, often collaborates with the police . If we look at the historical record of some of the verdicts rendered by judges, both at the district and state levels, as well as at the apex court, over the last several decades, we find a continuity of sorts. Indian judges by and large, have sacrificed their professional obligation to deliver justice to the poor victims, by acquitting their oppressors through judgments that reflect their caste and class-oriented biases, and also their subservience to the ruling powers.
collective conscience’ ? Did they seek a popular verdict through a referendum, to test whether the entirecollective’ was in favour of the death sentence ? In fact, during all those years of the hearing of the case, large sections of the
collective’, including not only citizens of Kashmir where Afzal Guru was born, but human rights groups and lawyers gathered from all over India, to defend a young man who was held guilty by association only. Shamefully, even President Pranab Mukherjee - the much-trumpeted erudite ex-professor - acted like a rubber stamp of the government and the judiciary by rejecting Afzal Guru’s mercy plea. Yet, he could have exercised his discretionary powers which he enjoys under the Constitution, to save the life of a young man. I wonder, whether on the eve of his retirement from presidentship, does he suffer from pangs of hisindividual conscience’ ? Or, has he sacrificed it for the so-called `collective conscience’ as defined by a judiciary, that seems to be swayed by the hyper-nationalist rhetoric of the Indian state.
contempt of court’ - is the judgment delivered by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, S.S. Shinde in the district court in Gadchiroli, in March 2017, against the wheel-chair bound Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, accusing him ofaiding and abetting Naxalite activities’. Widely well-respected by his students and colleagues, he has been sentenced to life-imprisonment. The following words of the judgment expose the inhuman and vindictive psyche of the judge who sentenced him : “Merely because Saibaba is 90 percent disabled is no ground to show him leniency… he is physically handicapped but he is mentally fit, a thinktank and a high-profile leader of banned organizations.”
enough evidence’ to convict the accused. This is a legalese that ignores the behind-the-scenes operations that take place in the usually long-drawn out cases. In such secret operations, the accused from the upper class and upper caste groups (involved in class and caste based killings), and from the majority Hindu community (accused of massacring Muslims), threaten the witnesses for the prosecution to withdraw their complaints, and they are made to turnhostile’ (another legalese). Witnesses in India are seldom left to themselves. They are tutored, bribed or threatened either by the police to build up their prosecution cases, or by the defence to support their efforts to get the accused free. The common citizen who had been unfortunate enough to be hauled up as a witness in a court case had always been a victim of this cross-fire. Flip-flops in their statements had thus been a part of Indian judicial proceedings for years – which had led to the acquittal of the guilty or the sentencing of the innocent.
hostile witness’ in the court was the best clean chit that they could ever get to cover up their abetment in the killings at Best Bakery. Thus, powerful interests can bribe the police to dilute the chargesheets against them by inducing them to leave out the vital eye-witnesses of their crimes, or turning these witnesses intohostile.’ This allows the judges to complain that the prosecution has not provided `enough evidence.’ But the judges can surely suo motu intervene by appointing an amicus curiae to investigate into such cases to bring out the truth.
holy cows’ - claiming to be sacrosanct and beyond any questioning. The former, at the drop of a hat, hauls up dissidents who challenge their verdicts, on the charge ofcontempt of court,’ (e.g. Arundhati Roy’s case), or on the graver charge of `sedition’ (a colonial term, still retained in our penal code, shamefully by an Independent India), aimed mainly at those who raise legitimate questions about the Indian state’s policies towards disgruntled nationalities like Kashmiris, Manipuris and ethnic-based movements. It is a long haul for those accused of these charges, to get acquitted.
holy cow’, under the Constitution - had usually been ahoof-stamp’ (a la ` rubber stamp’) President. Just like Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, who stamped his hoof rejecting the mercy petitions of Bhoomaiyah and Kishta Gowd, allowing them to be hanged, his successor Pranab Mukherjee similarly signed with his hoof the rejection of the mercy petition of Afzal Guru – without considering the legal controversies surrounding allegations about his involvement in the Parliament attack.