#Mumbai Three-yr-old raped by uncle in theatre #childabuse #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

The accused was caught in the act by other movie goers when the girl started crying; in another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised by an acquaintance

May 27, 2013
MUMBAI
Sagar Rajput, mID DAY

With one case of rape and another of sodomy reported in the city on Saturday, the city does not seem to be getting any safer for children.

In the first case, a three-year-old girl was raped by her uncle in a movie theatre on Saturday. The accused identified as Mohammad Israel had told the victim’s mother that he would take her for a movie.

As the girl kept crying throughout the movie, an alert member of the audience asked the watchman at Kalpana theatre to find out what the matter was. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni (zone 5) said, “When the watchman went to inquire, he saw that the crying girl was on Israel’s lap. He felt something was amiss and gathered a crowd following which Israel was taken to Kurla police station.”

After interrogations the accused confessed to raping his niece and was booked under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

10-yr-old sodomised
In another incident, a 10-year-old boy was sodomised in a madrassa, where the 60-year-old accused worked as a secretary. According to police officials, the accused identified as Mohammad Hanif Noor Mohammad sodomised the victim after taking him away under the pretext of some work.

According to the police, after the accused sodomised him on May 8, the victim was not in a state to go to the madrassa. “The victim’s uncle asked him to go to the madrassa to study, but on May 10, the boy panicked. When his uncle started questioning him, he came to know about the incident,” said an officer from Dharavi police station.

Family members then filed a complaint with the madrassa authorities following which the accused was suspended.
DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “The boy was sodomised on two occasions in the course of the last two weeks.

The first was on May 8 in a madrassa, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Dharavi police. We are yet to find out when the second incident took place. The father of the victim finally filed a complaint with the Dharavi police station on Saturday.”

The accused was arrested under section 377 (unnatural offence) of the Indian Penal Code. Investigations are on to ascertain when the second incident took place.

 

#India – She has marks but no money to realise her dream #mustshare


M.K. ANANTH, The Hindu


NAMAKKAL, May 21, 2013
S. Gayathri.

S. Gayathri.

S. Gayathri (17) of Chinnamaruthur in Pilikalpalayam panchayat, Paramathi Velur taluk, about 35 km from Namakkal town, has scored 1,129 (94 per cent) in the recent Plus Two exams. She aspires to become a doctor and she has 197/200 cut off for medicine. As she belongs to Scheduled Caste (Arunthathiyar) community, she has brighter chance to realise her dream.

But poverty has forced her to work in agricultural fields as a daily wager so that she can earn Rs. 100 a day to support her family.

When she came to know that she scored 199 in biology, 198 in chemistry, 197 in maths, 192 in physics, 179 in Tamil and 164 in English she hardly had time to celebrate as her father asked her to discontinue her studies as it would not be possible for him to support her higher education. Her mother, however, wanted the girl to pursue some degree course in a nearby government aided arts and science college.

Her parents K. Selvaraj (42) and S. Sumathi (35) have never been to school and are daily wage farm labourers. Gayathri is the eldest child and has two sisters and a brother.

The family always had trouble meeting their day to day needs as her father often fell sick and on many occasions Sumathi was the sole breadwinner of the family.

Becoming a doctor was Gayathri’s childhood dream. “I suffered from breathing difficulty and chest pain from the age of one and was badly affected till I was 13. I know the pain of living as a patient from a poor family and so I want to treat poor patients if I become a doctor. I want to specialise in gynaecology,” she adds.

She studied in the Aanangur Government High School and scored 470/500 in the Class X examination.

Her teacher Ranganathan took her to Malar Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Paramathi where she was enrolled for higher secondary. Her tuition fee was fully waived.

Teachers, who saw the girl’s interest in studies, pooled in money to pay the transportation fees.

“In 2012, the lowest cut off score for a candidate from the SC (A) community to get a medical seat in a government medical college was 188.25. With a much better cut off, Gayathri has a better chance. The school will extend support to her, but she would need more financial assistance to pursue her higher education,” M. Palaniappan , president of Malar school, said.

Persons interested in helping Gayathri can contact her father at 98436 87990.

 


  • Gayathri has

    197/200 cut off

    for medicine

  • Poverty has forced her to work in agricultural fields as a daily wager

     

Supreme Court of India – ‘Revolving door’ in lawsuits


M J Antony  May 07, 2013 , BS

criminal_justice_jurisprudence

The Court now limits review petitions to only grave errors in judgments

When litigants lose their final appeal in the Supreme Court, most of them learn to grin and bear it. However, lawyers tend to advise those with deep pockets to carry on the fight in different modes. Some desperate measures are filing applications for clarification and modification, moving review petitions and finally, curative petitions. Most of them turn out to be a triumph of hope over experience.

The first method to revive the lost cause is to file an application for clarification, alleging ambiguities in the decision where none exists. The bench that passed the judgment usually sees through the game and dismisses it. Another technique is to file an application for modification of the order, pleading technical hurdles in its implementation. This is also perceived as a ploy to re-argue the case and is mostly rejected.

If both stratagems fail, and there are more funds for litigation, there are two more options. The first one is moving a review petition. More than 90 per cent of them are dismissed in judges’ chambers during the lunch recess. A few months ago, 340 review petitions relating to land acquisition were massacred in minutes. It was a rare instance of a government authority returning twice with review petitions (Haryana Industrial Development Corp vs Mawasi).

Hoping to contain the flow of such petitions, the Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago emphasised in a batch of petitions that a review was justified only when there was a serious error in the judgment (JSW Steel Ltd vs Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Ltd).

“In review jurisdiction,” stated the judgment dismissing the petitions, “the Court shall interfere only when there is a glaring omission or patent mistake, or when a grave error has crept in the judgment that we failed to notice. Mere disagreement with the view of the judgment cannot be the ground for invoking the same. As long as the point is already dealt with and answered, the parties are not entitled to challenge the judgment in the guise that an alternative view is possible under the review jurisdiction.”

This view had to be reiterated because of the routine filing of review petitions. There must be an “error apparent on the record”, as the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court rules say. In a leading caseParsion Devi vs Sumitri Devi, the Court had explained the law thus: “An error which is not self-evident and has to be detected by a process of reasoning can hardly be said to be an error apparent on the face of the record. It is not permissible for an erroneous decision to be ‘reheard and corrected’. A review petition, it must be remembered, has a limited purpose and cannot be allowed to be an appeal in disguise.”

If the ingenuity of the lawyer and the client’s pockets are not yet exhausted, there is still another way. This path was broken by the Supreme Court itself – only to be regretted leisurely. In the case Rupa Ashok vs Ashok Hurra, the Court stated that “the almighty alone is the dispenser of absolute justice” and the rest might err. Ensuring certainty and finality of a judgment of the Court of last resort could not be made an end in itself. Even the law must bend before justice.

With such good intentions, the new curative petition was forged by the Court. This petition must be accompanied by a recommendation of a senior advocate, stating that the case requires re-examination. The curative petition has to be first circulated to a bench of three seniormost judges. They will decide by a majority that the case should be re-examined. Only then the case will be heard by the judges, who heard the case originally.

Despite such strict conditions, in the case Sumer vs State of UP, the Constitution bench for the first time gave vent to the rampant misuse of the provision for curative petitions. It said: “The apprehension of the bench (which delivered the Hurra judgement) that the remedy provided may not open the flood gates for filing a second review petition has come true as is evident from the filing of large numbers of petitions. It was expected that the curative petitions will be filed in the rarest-of-rare cases, but in practice, it has just been opposite.” The judgment quoted one certificate to show how casually they are issued. The senior counsel’s recommendation comes easily but, perhaps, not cheaply.

The quest for perfect justice must end somewhere. “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final,” said US Supreme Court judge Robert Jackson. The Supreme Court, with over 66,000 cases before it, can hardly afford the luxury of providing more revolving doors to rich litigants. They must give way to the ordinary people waiting for years at the gates of justice.

 

India has a flawed notion of mercy #deathpenalty


By RAJEEV DHAVAN

PUBLISHED: 20:47 GMT, 21 April 2013

The quality of mercy varies from person to situation, but it is for all: the preferred rich and the unpreferred poor.

Dispensing mercy is a compassionate art with which India is out of touch. From 2001-2011, the death penalty was finally awarded to 1,455 persons. The higher courts commuted 4,321 death sentences into life imprisonment.

Delhi saw the judiciary commuting 99 per cent of the death penalties (2,462 cases). The commutation in other states was less dramatic – J-K (18), UP (458), MP (62), Bihar (343) Maharashtra (175), Jharkhand (300), Chhattisgarh (24), Assam (97), Odisha (68), Punjab (24), Rajasthan (33), Kerala (23), Tamil Nadu (24), Uttarakhand (46).

A flawed notion of mercy

The story is uneven, the data incomplete. But, it shows that the “rarest of rare” formula is not fully understood by the sessions or even higher court judges.

It is so easy to interpret the ‘rarest of rarest’ as including incessant killings, brutal deaths, torture and gender violation. These have become inflexible categories beyond interpretation.

As soon as trial judges find that a case falls in these broad categories, they award the death penalty. In at least half the cases, the death sentence is commuted by the High Courts. Then the issues get narrower as we go to the Supreme Court, which has a confused record veering towards the death penalty in terrorist and gruesome cases.

By the time the matter reaches the President, the decision becomes political and taints mercy.

Formula

A huge amount of time elapses between the criminal ‘event’ and the death penalty. In the Bombay blasts, the interval was two decades. In the Parliament case, more than a decade. On 6 April 2013, the CBI Court awarded the death penalty to three policemen 31 years after the fake encounter case in the Gonda district of U.P.

What happened during these years? How do you judge culpability three decades old? Or apply the ‘rarest of rare’ formula?

This is an important flaw in the ‘rarest of rare’ formula. When do you apply it? In relation to the criminal event? The trial court’s decision? The High Court‘s decision? The Supreme Court’s decision? At judicial levels, the decision is ‘event-based’ – with very little allowance for repentance in sentencing.

Beyond the judicial level, the same “event based” formula is applied in pardon cases with a political twist. Communal voices ask for death – wondering whether Caesar will put his thumb up or down. The crowd or the populace roars for death. It is a brave Caesar or President to turn down the crowd or the politics of the aftermath. The discourse on mercy is eclipsed.

Our system is no better. But to return to the question of when we apply the ‘rarest of rare’ formula. Is it essentially “criminal event” based? But does nothing change over time? Remember Heraclitus saying: “You cannot cross the same river twice.” And Cratylus adding: “You cannot even cross it once.”

Ten years is a long time. Twenty or thirty years, even more. Will we always judge the crime and never the person? Or a person as an adjunct to the crime? Must all Pakistani Kashmiri militants die? They will not retract from their beliefs. But over time, they change – some repent, some cannot say that they do.

The mercy of the presidential office has become irrelevant. The Supreme Court’s reprieve from President Pranab Mukherjee’s refusal to pardon 8 persons was brief. At this post-pardon stage, the Supreme Court limits its inquiry to whether the President acted malafide.

Significantly, Pranab’s predecessors forced the Home Minister to think. President Patil rejected 3 pleas in 5 years including in the Bhullar car bomb case of 1993, Rajiv’s killers, and a beheading incident. Kalam rejected Dhananjoy’s pleas from Calcutta. Narayan rejected no mercy pleas. The present presidential dispensation refusing pardon for death row is inexplicable. The system is all wrong, its understanding of mercy and just punishment too limited. Mercy is about the person not just the event.

Sanjay Dutt

Granted more time: Actor Sanjay Dutt during shooting of the film 'Policegiri' at a studio in Mumbai Granted more time: Actor Sanjay Dutt during shooting of the film ‘Policegiri’ at a studio in Mumbai

The bottom line is: we have a system of punishment but not mercy, of legicide by the state, but little or no reprieve. There is parole for those serving sentences. Only silence for the dead.

The latest twist in the Sanjay Dutt case, giving him time for four weeks, must make us think. The good part is that before imprisonment everyone has unfinished business. More important than Sanjay, a woman who has to make provision for her children, or for the old. A sick person whose needs hospital treatment. In this list, the businessman or actor who has to fulfill a contract must come lower down.

But what the Sanjay precedent suggests is the need for a new penology so that everyone is allowed a furlough to complete some part of their unfinished obligations before their prison sentence. The bad part of the Sanjay decision was that it gave the impression of favouring the rich and famous.

Impact

We are a troubled and violent society. Awarding death sentences adds to the violence without deterrent effect. The proof is that thousands of homicides are un-reported. Violence is unabated. If India decides that punishment deserves that a tooth must be broken for a tooth, the incidence of death penalty will increase to no avail.

Our retributive system of punishment looks at the crime and extracts revenge: usko zinda matt chodho (don’t let him live). Then, the state assumes a right to kill, rightly denied to its citizens. Our system lacks mercy and, therefore, justice.

The writer is a Supreme Court lawyer

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2312545/India-flawed-notion-mercy.html#ixzz2RBjLdArm
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#India – The Court of Last Resort #Justicekatju


 

By- Justice Markandey Katju , April 1, 2013

It has been felt for quite some time that injustice is being done to a large number of people who have been languishing in jail either as under trials whose cases have not been heard for several years, or who have unjustly remained incarcerated, either because:

  1. The police have fabricated evidence against them, or
  2. For want of proper legal assistance, or
  3. Who have had to spend many years in jail and ultimately found innocent by the court.

 

 

Many of such persons in jail belong to minorities who have been accused only on suspicion and on pre-conceived notions that all persons of that community are terrorists. Whenever a bomb blast or such other terrorist event occurs, the police often is unable to trace out the real culprit, and yet it has to show that it has solved the crime. Consequently very often the police rushes to implicate and charge a large number of youths of that minority community on mere suspicion, whose bail application is very often rejected and consequently they have to spend several years in jail. In such matters either the police often fabricates evidence against them to justify their acts and secure conviction, or the cases result in acquittal of innocent accused persons after they have spent several years in jail. A classic case is of that of a young boy Aamir who was 17 years of age when arrested, and who spent 14 years in jail after which he was found innocent.

 

In the 6th April 2013 issue of Tehelka there is an excellent article by Shoma Chaudhry entitled , ‘The Fight for Muslims is fundamental for the survival of Democracy’. In this article she has stated that over the past few years TEHELKA journalists have documented hundreds of stories of innocent Muslims languishing in jail after being brutally tortured on flimsy or false charges. Each case hides hair raising stories about prejudice, incompetence and deliberate malafide, and also mentions stories of pain, destroyed lives and hollowed futures.

 

Shoma writes that innocent Muslims have been jailed with impunity in India over the past decade because it was easy to jail them. Within hours of any terror attack, a bunch of Muslim boys would be arrested, and their names aired in the media as ‘Masterminds’. Their guilt was assumed, it did not need to be proved.

 

Since 2001 a terrible maxim had seeped into the Indian mainstream: All Muslims may not be terrorist, but all terrorists are Muslims. It did not matter if you caught the wrong ones. Everyone only wanted the illusion of security and “action taken”. Those who raised hard questions were scorned as ‘anti-national’.

 

In my interview with Karan Thapar on ‘Devil’s Advocate’ I said that within hours of a terrorist attack in India many media channels start showing that an email or SMS has been received from ‘Indian Mujahideen’ or ‘Jaish-e-Muhammad’ or ‘Harkat-ul-Jihad’, or some other organization having a Muslim name, claiming responsibility. Now an email or SMS can be sent by any mischievous person. But by showing this on TV screens, and the next day in print, subtle message is sent that all Muslims are terrorists, and thus the entire community is demonized.

 

All this is triggering new cycles of hate and revenge. Despair turns citizens into perpetrators, from the hunted to the hunter. Young men who have spent long years in jail cannot find jobs or houses to rent even when acquitted, their families are ostracized, and sisters find themselves unmarriageable because their brothers have been branded as terrorists.

 

Unless this cycle of hate is now reversed we are heading for terrible times, for injustice breeds hatred and violence

 

Criminal investigation is a science, but unfortunately in our country the police usually is not trained in scientific investigation nor does it have the equipment for the same. If we read the stories of Sherlock Holmes, we see how Holmes investigates a crime by promptly going on the spot and studying the finger prints, blood stains, soil, ashes, handwriting etc. before coming to a scientific conclusion. In recent times it has been shown on Discovery Channel etc. how the American police investigates a crime. The police reach the spot and collects the traces of the material there including blood stains, fingerprints, ashes, fibres, etc. The finger prints are fed into a computer which is connected to a national computer network, which can often lead to the discovery of the criminal. The blood stains etc. are taken to a laboratory where they are tested for DNA etc. Even a few microscopic fibres can lead to the discovery of the culprit by testing them in a laboratory and thus finding out his identity.

 

All this is usually absent in our police set up and yet the police has to show that it has solved the crime, otherwise the investigating officer fears suspension for incompetence. Consequently  he either implicates people on suspicion or resorts to the time honoured method of torture or third degree methods to obtain a confession.

 

All this is leading to injustice on a large scale. We are not blaming the courts for this because they are handicapped due to the enormous burden of litigation for which cases linger on for years and years. Also, unfortunately nowadays the real eye witnesses are afraid to give evidence out of fear of threats or harassment, and hence the police often fabricates evidence.

 

The result of all this is that in our country gross injustice is often done, particularly to minorities, and the time has now come when this great wrong must be set right. Our country is a country of great diversity and therefore no community must be made to feel that it is being selectively victimised.

 

This being the situation it has been decided by a group of people headed by Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and the eminent lawyer Mr. Majeed Menon, the film producer and social activist Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, Mr. Asif Azmi and other like-minded people to setup an organisation called ‘The Court of Last Resort’.

 

The concept of this idea has come from an organisation founded way back in 1948 by the eminent American criminal lawyer Erle Stanley Gardner, who later wrote the Perry Mason novels. In his book ‘The Court of Last Resort’, Erle Stanley Gardner mentions about the organisation which he set up consisting  mainly of lawyers, who took up cases of persons whom they thought were wrongly accused or unjustly convicted. The organisation which we are starting in India will bear the same name ‘The Court of Last Resort’ and have its headquarters in New Delhi, with Justice Katju as its patron and will have state units in all states of India. Such state units will be authorised to appoint district units.

 

‘The Court of Last Resort’ will have the following objects:

 

    1. To ask the concerned authorities in various states about details of prisoners languishing in jails, particularly those who have been in jail for long periods, including both under trials and convicts. The R.T.I. Act can be used in this connection.

 

    1. To examine the cases of persons, whether of our own accord, or on the representation of someone, and find out whether there has been injustice in their case, either by the delay in holding the trial, or by a wrong conviction, and do the needful in this connection, including applying for bail.

 

    1. To apply for pardon, respite, suspension or reduction of sentence  to the President or Governor as the case may be.

 

 

    1. To create awareness in the public about this gross injustice which is being done to a large number of people.

 

    1. To educate the police about this state of affairs and change its mentality.

 

 

    1. To approach the other concerned authorities with the aim of rectifying this injustice to a large section of people.

 

    1. To do such other acts as may be necessary for this purpose.

 

 

The organisation appeals to the like-minded people among the public, particularly to lawyers, retired judges, academicians, students, social activists, professionals, media persons , etc. to help and get associated with this enterprise.

The formal inauguration of this body will be done through a press conference in the near future.

It is made clear that this is being done for no personal benefit to any of us but purely because of our sincere desire that justice should be done to everybody, and no section of society is made to feel that it is being discriminated against.

 

 

Story behind the ‘Lost Case”- despite social legal support #Vaw #Justice


Mumbai, Majlis Team , March 31,, 2013

As  fourteen year old Priya  had not been getting her periods for some months, her mother took her to Shatabdi, a  public Hospital in the nearby area, for a check up.  During examination it came to light that the child was five months pregnant! A case was not filed, but Priya and her mother were referred to the hospital’s counselling centre where two very young social work students were placed. The students knew about Majlis’ Socio Legal Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault programme.

So, it was by sheer luck that Priya and her mother Anju reached our office. I was one of the first people to speak to Priya after she discovered she was pregnant. With large fluid eyes and a scared look on her face, she revealed that she and her friends would often go to a Pramuk’s  (leader) house to help his wife with house work. About six months ago, when his wife was not at home, this 50 year old man raped her.  He threatened her that if she ever spoke to anyone about it, he would kill her. She had no idea about the consequences which might befall on her, and hence kept silent, and did not even confide in her mother.  It was poignant to watch the child, who had just realised that she was pregnant, trying to cover her stomach with her dupatta.

Anju is an illiterate single mother trying desperately to manage her family by earning a meagre amount as a domestic maid. She is extremely naïve and had never stepped out of her local area. She, and her mother before her, have lived in the same slum their entire lifetime. When faced with the news,  Anju’s only concern was how to quietly get an abortion and end the story. She was extremely afraid that if her son found out all hell would break loose. The pramukh was influential and she did not want any hassles with the police. We tried our best to assure her that if she wanted to complain we would support her in her pursuit of justice… but these words did not make any sense to her.

We asked her to think about what she wanted to do and promised to meet her the next day at the hospital (she did not want us to come home). But the next day Anju did not turn up. Our team were rid with fear at what she would have done with her daughter in order to cover up the incident. Priya’s pregnancy was well past the statutory limit permitting an abortion and we were scared about the danger to her life. There was no way of contacting Anju as she had not given us a number or an address.

Then three days later Anju contacted us. All hell had broken loose as her son found out. The police was informed and an FIR was lodged. The accused was taken into custody, required medical tests were done and statements were recorded. Priya was produced before the Child Welfare Committee and was taken to a shelter home.

Our first challenge was to ensure Priya’s health and well being were being taken care of in the shelter home. We would accompany Anju every week to visit Priya in the shelter home. We counselled Priya to cope with her situation. Priya was not comfortable at the government shelter home,  so we requested the CWC to move her to a home for unwed mothers run by Christian Missionary Sisters in the Western suburbs. The request was granted.

We also counselled Anju and her son to help them cope with the situation. When Priya delivered her baby we were there. Anju could not reach the hospital as she could not travel alone late in the night. Anju still  feels bad that she would not be with her daughter during her delivery. Given Priya’s tender age and Anju’s financial condition, there was no question of keeping  the baby. We had to repeatedly remind the police to collect the blood samples of  the baby, so that the child could be put up for adoption.

Priya returned home and Anju was keen to care for her daughter. But she soon realised that due to sniggering and humiliation from neighbours it was impossible to keep her daughter with her. Everything had changed. Priyas was forced to live in the village where poverty was worse and she was not even given basic nutrition. Anju was desperately trying to collect money to move to another slum. Multiple vulnerabilities were  at play here. Since we do not have a financial assistance project and the State Victim Compensation Scheme was not in place, we could not offer any financial support to the family.

But on the other hand, the case was progressing smoothly. We followed up with the police to ensure that the investigation was on track and the charge sheet filed in a timely manner. Within two and half months of the incident the charge sheet was filed and the matter was committed to the Sessions Court. This was an open and shut case, we were confident of a conviction. This was one of the few cases we have come across where the statements were  recorded by the police without any loopholes, DNA proof was there…. So imagine our shock and utter dismay when the DNA report came negative.

The blood samples of the accused did not match that of the child. The police called Anju to the Police Station and shouted and abused her for two-three hours. We rushed to the Police Station and impressed upon the officer that his duty was only to submit the DNA report to the court and not pass any value judgment.

We met Priya and tried to probe if there was any other person. But Priya, all of fourteen and having gone through the ordeal, with utmost conviction reassured us, that he alone was the  culprit. We believed her.

The Public Prosecutor (PP) accused Priya of having a boyfriend. You cannot trust these teenaged girls, I think this case is ‘fishy’, she said. Her entire approach towards the case changed dramatically after the DNA report. But if Priya had a boyfriend, the news would have spread as this is a thickly populated slum with huts adjacent to each other. Nothing misses the keenly watchful eyes of the  neighbours.

We were extremely worried how the PP, whose job is to defend Priya would conduct the trial. We watched the PP like hawks on every date to ensure she was doing her job.

Priya was brilliant in her examination and cross. We were there by her side to support her. The PP ofcourse did not even bother to meet her before the trial and prepare her.

The defence lawyer used all kinds of underhand tactics during Anju’s cross. He accused her of being a woman of loose character and being greedy and wanting to extract money from the accused. But before he could ask any more embarrassing questions, the presiding officer, a sensitive lady judge, stopped him. This judge is known to follow Sakshi Guidelines, not allow unnecessary questions and most of all, she makes the witness comfortable in court. All this helps bring the best evidence before the Court.

The final arguments were a disaster. The PP argued with absolute lack of interest (She may not have even argued if we were not there). She submitted the case laws and the written arguments that we had prepared, because we insisted. The Defence Counsel argued at length about how the DNA Report was negative and therefore it was clear that the accused had been framed to take revenge because the victim’s mother was not allocated a tenement under the slum rehabilitation scheme.

Judgment: “Not guilty, the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt”. The judge also commented that the plea of the defence about revenge appears to be probable!

Immediately after passing the judgement, in an informal tone, the Judge asked our lawyer whether we take up all cases or only ‘genuine’ cases. Before we could recover from the absurdity of this question, the PP replied “Oh, they take up any case that comes to them”.

We would have liked to answer that “not proving a case beyond reasonable doubt does not amount to a ‘false’ case.”  We would also liked to have responded to the  PP, “it is not your job to be judge… just do your best to prove your case, like you would if you were defending the accused in a murder trial, as a private lawyer.” But we kept silent as we have many other rape cases which are pending trial in this court.

We had the difficult task of informing Anju about the judgement. She was calm and took it in her stride. She told us that she was not interested in filing an appeal. She had changed her residence,  Priya was back at school and they were making every attempt to get over this trauma. We felt that despite the set back in court, we had empowered them to cope with the system and move on without leaving deep scars of revictimisation upon their psyche. This, in itself, was a victory! After all, conviction or acquittal is not in our hands. We are here to ensure that fair trial process has been followed.

Ideally, this narrative must end here, but it has a postscript. A few days later, a visibly shattered Anju came to our office. There was a story in the newspaper accusing Anju of filing a false case to frame the accused to get a tenement in the SRA scheme. It is this incident that broke Anju.  She wanted to file a case against the lawyer and the newspaper.  But since no names were mentioned there was nothing we could do. Anju told us that Priya had threatened to commit suicide after seeing the newspaper article. The society finally had its revenge.

The questions that haunt us at the end of this case are – yes, the case could not be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.  But it is also beyond doubt that a 14 year old vulnerable child had been violated and had to undergo the ordeal of childbirth and of giving up the child in adoption. Does the responsibility of the state end with the acquittal, or is there a responsibility beyond, to ensure the well being of this child.  Can state institutions entrusted with the responsibility of protecting children, brand her as ‘a liar’ and wash their hands off her, leaving her to deal with her fate, within the confines of her own vulnerabilities? We find no answers to these disturbing questions within the criminal legal system.

State of Maharashtra  v. Ramesh Dawle  Session Case  No. 349 of 2012

The matter was concluded within a year.

Majlis Legal Centre

A 4/2 Golden Valley, Kalina Kurla Road, Santacruz E, Mumbai 98

Tel: 022 26661252 / 26662394

Website: www.majlislaw.com

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#Mumbairiots – Two decades on, the inconvinient truth #mustread


Meena Menon, The Hindu

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The less privileged survivors of the 1993 Mumbai riots should not be deprived of justice on the grounds that old wounds will be reopened

It is 20 years since two cataclysmic events shook Bombay now Mumbai. If there is recollection now of the first — the communal carnage spread over two months and which killed over 900 people — it is called the reopening old wounds. On the other hand, if you speak about the second, the serial blasts of March 12, 1993, it’s about terror coming home to the city and claiming innocent lives.

Even the State makes a clear demarcation — a judicial commission of inquiry for communal riots, and a designated court under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) for a terror strike. While the judicial commission’s recommendations are not binding on the government, a designated or special court has complete legal sanction. When carnage in Bombay post the Babri Masjid demolition had somewhat abated, then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao constituted a judicial commission of inquiry. It was to probe the over two-month long violence on January 25, 1993, one and a half months before the city would be shaken and stirred by a series of bomb blasts. While the judicial commission on riots headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna was conducting its hearing, Maharashtra was claimed by a saffron coalition of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The new government changed the terms of reference of the Srikrishna inquiry to probe the circumstances and the immediate causes of the serial bomb blasts. Then, all of a sudden, on January 23, 1996, the State government disbanded the commission of inquiry on the grounds that it was taking too much time and that it would reopen old wounds. Finally, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee intervened to revive the commission by May 1996. For five years, the commission examined 2,125 affidavits, recorded 502 testimonies and gathered 9,655 pages of evidence and 2,903 documents. Twenty-six police stations were covered by the commission but its report was rejected by the State government which said it was biased.

Commission’s stance

The Srikrishna Commission says that the Shiv Sena-BJP government desired that it go into certain aspects of the serial bomb blasts which occurred on March 12, 1993 and expanded its terms of reference which included finding out the circumstances and the immediate causes of the incidents, commonly known as the serial bomb blasts, whether the riots and the blasts were linked, and whether they were part of a common design.

In its final report, the commission said the riots appeared to have been a causative factor for the bomb blasts. “There is no material placed before the commission indicating that the riots during December 1992 and January 1993 and the serial blasts were a part of a common design. In fact this situation has been accepted by Mahesh Narain Singh who was heading the team of investigators into the serial bomb blasts case. He also emphasizes that the serial bomb blasts were a reaction to the totality of events at Ayodhya and Bombay in December 1992 and January 1993 and the commission is inclined to agree with him.”

Recurrent theme

While rejecting the Commission’s report, the government berated it for not paying enough attention to the blasts while devoting over 600 pages to the riots. With these words, the Shiv Sena-BJP had laid the foundation for erasing the memory of the riots and layering it with a sharp and unforgettable image of the serial blasts.

The theme of reopening old wounds recurred again in a High Court judgment which acquitted the late Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, in 2007 after the State government appealed in two cases of acquittals of Mr. Thackeray by lower courts. The High Court observed that no ends of justice would be served by digging up the old cases after the expiry of seven years and that they would only revive communal tension. Time has already passed. In a review of these circumstances, it is difficult to find fault with the impugned order passed by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate terminating the proceedings in the two cases, the High Court said.

By 2007, after the designated TADA court sentenced 100 people for their roles in the March 12 serial bomb blasts case, there was uproar from civil rights groups and riot victims. The State government agreed to set up four special courts to expedite 16 of the 253 pending cases. Many important pending cases were not dealt with by these courts though some convictions were handed out. While both the Congress and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), promised to implement the Srikrishna Commission report in their election manifesto, they did nothing. When special courts were being set up to speed up old riot cases, there was a chorus that this would reopen old wounds.

Yet, when the Supreme Court disposed of appeals by death row convicts and actor Sanjay Dutt in the March 12, 1993 serial blasts case on March 21, 2013, everyone revelled in the reopening of those old wounds. Bollywood was dismayed, people spoke in one voice saying that poor Sanjay Dutt must be forgiven. Hadn’t he spread Mahatma’s Gandhi’s ideals. For people convicted under TADA for disposing of Dutt’s weapons or storing them, there was no reprieve. While they were convicted and sentenced for an act of terror, Dutt got away unstained by the terror tag and with a sentence commuted to five years under the Arms Act. If that didn’t reopen old wounds for his co-accused in the case, nothing will. People also recalled fondly how Dutt’s father, the late Congress leader, Sunil Dutt, had to beseech Bal Thackeray to intervene so that the courts could grant his Sanjay bail after a stint in jail.

The survivors of the riots continue to despair. They can’t even get cases registered against culprits if they happen to be policemen. The Special Investigation Team, formed soon after the riots, closed more cases than it reopened. They have to approach the High Court for registering first information reports or demanding Central Bureau of Investigation inquiries. They have no choice but to reopen old wound

 

#India – Why Special Cell will continue to manufacture dreaded terrorists


Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

 

Last year, JTSA compiled and released a report documenting 16 cases where the Delhi Police, especially its Special Cell, had framed innocents as terrorists. An overwhelming number of these unfortunate men were from Kashmir. Despite the fact that we cited court judgements which reprimanded the Cell for refusing to join independent witnesses, for willfully violating established procedures, for illegally detaining accused and showing their arrests on later dates; for fabricating evidence and failing to provide an iota of evidence in support of their charges – neither the leadership of the Delhi police nor the Home Ministry felt the need for any enquiry.

 

Many of these prize catches of the Special Cell happened to be either police or IB informers, surrendered militants, or men with whom one agency or the other had a score to settle. To that extent, Special Cell’s latest, sensational Holi gift – of having foiled a major terror attack in the capital city by Hizbul Mujahideen – follows the set narrative. What the Special Cell did not bargain for was the contestation of their great feat by the J and K police, who clearly said that Liaqat Shah was a former militant who was returning to Kashmir as part of the state government’s rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants.  So, to its utter surprise, the Special Cell was not greeted by instant glory, but by an unusual bad press.

 

But again, predictably, the MHA has rushed to the defence of the pampered Special Cell.  It is this continuing impunity which has emboldened agencies to pick, detain, arrest and charge people with terrorism. Three of the four officers of the Special Cell in the current ‘Hizb operation’ feature rather prominently in the JTSA report: DCP Sanjeev Yadav was key player in five of the 16 cases in Framed, Damned, Acquitted; Sanjay Dutt in six and Rahul Kumar in seven. It should be recalled also that DCP Sanjeev Yadav was indicted by the NHRC for masterminding the fake encounter at Sonia Vihar in 2006 (when he was an ACP).  We demand that the magisterial enquiry into the encounter conducted by the then Divisional Commissioner, Shri Vijay Dev, be made public immediately.  We fear that there is a concerted attempt to suppress the report of the magisterial enquiry.

 

Till this impunity ends, we shall continue to witness these press conferences, the display of seized arms and explosives, the conferring of medals and gallantry awards, and the manufacturing of fidayeens.

 

Released by jamia teachers solidarity association

www.teacherssolidarity.org

 

India upholds #deathpenalty over 1993 Mumbai blasts, SanjayDutt gets 5 years in Jail


March 21, 2013 1By Ammu Kannampilly

Agence France Presse
In this photograph taken on July 31, 2007, Indian Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (L) is frisked by a policeman as he arrives for sentencing at the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) - TADA court in Mumbai. AFP PHOTO/Sajjad HUSSAIN/FILES
In this photograph taken on July 31, 2007, Indian Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (L) is frisked by a policeman as he arrives for sentencing at the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) – TADA court in Mumbai. AFP PHOTO/Sajjad HUSSAIN/FILES
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NEW DELHI: India‘s top court upheld the death penalty on Thursday for a mastermind of the country’s deadliest series of attacks and ruled a Bollywood star who bought weapons from the bombers must return to jail.

Yakub Memon, brother of the alleged main plotter and fugitive Tiger Memon, was the only one of 11 convicts to see his death sentence upheld by the Supreme Court for his role in the 1993 blasts which killed 257 people in Mumbai.

The judges also handed down a five-year term for the actor Sanjay Dutt for possessing illegal weapons bought from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings. Dutt has already served 18 months but is currently out on bail.

Announcing the sentences, Supreme Court judge P. Sathashivam said the Memon brothers and another suspect, Dawood Ibrahim, who is said to be living in Pakistan, “were archers and rest of the appellants were arrows in their hands”.

“They were the architects of the blasts,” Sathashivam, one of two judges presiding over the case, said.

The remaining convicts who had appealed against the death penalty saw their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

The attacks on March 12, 1993, were believed to have been staged by Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that left more than 1,000 dead in the city a few months earlier.

Yakub, an accountant by profession, his brothers Essa and Yusuf and sister-in-law Rubina were all convicted for their involvement in the serial blasts at 13 different locations.

The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of the national carrier Air India and the luxury Sea Rock hotel were among the targets.

Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, the other alleged masterminds of the attacks, have been on the run since 1993. Indian investigators say they were helped by Pakistan’s intelligence service, a charge denied by Islamabad.

Executions are only carried out for “the rarest of rare” cases in India but President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a number of mercy pleas in the last few months, ending an unofficial eight-year moratorium.

A Kashmiri separatist convicted of involvement in a deadly 2001 attack on the Indian parliament was executed in New Delhi last month while the lone surviving gunman from the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks was hanged last November.

Dutt, who was appealing against an original six-year term, spent 18 months behind bars before being bailed in 2007.

During a police raid, investigators uncovered a pistol and an AK-56 rifle which were part of the consignment of weapons and explosives said to have been brought to India from Pakistan and then used in the attacks.

Dutt, a one-time heavy drug user who has a reputation as one of Bollywood’s bad boys, had admitted buying the weapons but insisted they were only meant to protect his family.

The 53-year-old was not in court while his sister Priya Dutt, who is a member of parliament, looked visibly upset when the verdict was pronounced.

His lawyer Satish Maneshinde said he has spoken to the actor who has four weeks to hand himself in to the authorities.

“He has accepted the judgement,” said Maneshinde. “He will go through the verdict and will consider all the legal recourses available to him”.

The actor shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname “Deadly Dutt”.

He is best known for playing a mobster with a heart of gold in the popular “Munnabhai” series.

Dutt’s first wife died of cancer while his second marriage, to a model, ended in divorce. He married for a third time in 2008.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2013/Mar-21/210997-india-upholds-death-penalty-over-1993-mumbai-blasts.ashx#ixzz2OAXzEGMZ
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

#Mumbai- ‘Aadhaar not mandatory yet’- #goodnews #UID


 

Mar 14, 2013 | Age Correspondent | Mumbai
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday assured the legislative council that possessing an Aadhar number would not be made mandatory for accessing any benefits of government schemes unless 80 per cent of the population of the district has been given Aadhar numbers.
The CM was responding to a calling attention motion moved by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt and others regarding slow pace of Aadhar registration process. Mr Dutt said that Aadhar number would become mandatory for various things such as gas cylinders, school admissions, PF, pension, scholarships etc.
Mr Dutt said that the citizens are finding it difficult to obtain the Aadhar number because of inadequate number of registration centres and machines for registration. He and other MLCs pointed out that citizens have to wait for hours together to register for thr Aadhar number and in several cases, the cards sent by post have returned undelivered because the address of a person is incorrectly recorded at the time of the registration.
Responding to the motion in the legislative council, Mr Chavan said that the Aadhar Card scheme was an ambitious scheme and that priority was being given to enrol beneficiaries of Central government schemes. “The Aadhar card will be linked to schemes only in the six districts, where direct cash transfers are being implemented. In all other districts, where less than 80 per cent have been registered for Aadhar cards, it will not be made mandatory. These instructions have been issued to all concerned departments,” the CM said.
Earlier, minister of state for IT Fauzia Khan informed the House that till date around 5.43 crore citizens in the state have registered for the Aadhar card and presently, aro-und 4,200 machines have been deployed for registrations. “The government now plans to increase the number of machines used for registering the cards by another 2,000 and the district collectors have been asked to choose agencies at the local level to carry out registration work,” Ms Khan said.
The minister also said that right now 50,000 cards were being generated on a daily basis, which they want to increase to more than a lakh per day. “Those who have registered their names, but not received Aadhar numbers, will be provided e-Aadhar numbers,” she said.

 

 

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