We Need Such A Law

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In March, the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No. 2, at Phulbani had acquitted 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigaon police as their offense allegedly committed in 2007 could not be proved.

So also the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No.1 had acquitted 14 persons arrested in a 2008 case by G Udayagiri Police, as the prosecution could not establish the charges.

In yet another case, the First Track Court No.2 has on April 21 acquitted 7 persons arrested by Tikabali police against alleged offenses committed in 2008, as there were no evidence to prove them guilty.

Is the acquittal enough?

It is time to cogitate this question.

People of Kandhamal district are too simple and ignorant to estimate what damage they have been forced to suffer being accused under-trial.

But when they are adjudged not guilty, because the prosecution had no evidence against them, they deserve to be automatically compensated in cash for the damage they have financially, physically, mentally and socially suffered.

Steps in this regard in appropriate forums are essential.

When the police fails to prove the charges it levels against any citizen, the police officer responsible for loss of his freedom and imposition of under-trial stigma on him, must be punished for misuse of power in arresting the person, for having falsely implicated the person against whom there is no evidence or for suppression of evidence to help the accused escape punishment.

Orissa Assembly Standing Committee on Home Department, in its report to the House in the Budget Session, has come down heavily upon deliberate dereliction of duty marked in the police organization. As non-registration of FIR is an offense which the police is asked not to resort to, institution of false cases against any citizen by the police also must be viewed as an offense.

The acquitted accused must be compensated with appropriate amount of cash to be collected from police officer responsible for his suffering.

We need such a law.

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POLICE IMPLICATES MEDIA PERSONS IN FALSE CASES TO PLEASE BHUSAN STEEL: MUFP

Media Unity for freedom of Press (MUFP) is worried over Orissa Police implicating working journalists in false cases to please the management of Bhusan steel Plant at Dhenkanal. The design is aimed at intimidating the Press in order to drive media away from highlighting the unfair labor practices of the industry that affects the workers as well as the harm it causes to living environment of the people.

We place below the MUFP statement:

The attacks on media persons in Odisha is now on the rise. The latest
example of a sinister attack against media professionals by the unholy
nexus between the industrial investors and administration is from Dhenkanal where Bhushan Steel Ltd, infamous for its unethical practices and extremely poor track record in safety standards has filed an FIR naming two committed local journalists for allegedly instigating its striking workers.

Two Dhenkanal-based journalists- Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad – who had been to the Bhushan Steel Plant on 3 February 2012 to cover a demonstration by its workers have been named as co-accused in an FIR filed by Bhushan management stating that they were among those who had instigated the workers to protest against the company.

The local police have already registered a case against them based on the Bhushan FIR and that means their arrest is only a matter of time.The local police is eager to pursue the fabricated FIR because they are hand in gloves with the company and also because they are equally perturbed by the pro-people reports filed by the two reporters in the past.

Bhushan may have reasons for its disappointment over the unwillingness of these reporters to play to their tunes in the last few years. But filing an FIR implicating them in a matter relating to workers’ agitation against the company has transgressed all limits of acceptable behavior.

The MUFP takes strong exception to such unwarranted aggression against
the media by Bhushan Steel Ltd and condemns the heinous attempt by a
private investor to muzzle and terrorise media persons. It also warns the company against any such attempts in future. Bhushan Steel Ltd must immediately delete the names of the two media persons from its false and fabricated FIR failing which the MUFP will be forced to take to agitational means across the state .

The MUFP also warns the state government against any move to protect
Bhushan Steel Ltd and its nasty attack on media persons.

MUFP will hold a protest meeting under the Freedom Tree in Bhubaneswar
at 11 am on Tuesday  (14 February 2012) if the Bhushan Steel Ltd and the state government fail to take remedial steps in the meanwhile.

For MEDIA UNITY FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP ),
Prasanta Patnak,
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
Sampad Mohapatra,
Rabi Das,
D.N. Singh,
Gopal Mohaptra,
Sudhir Patnaik,
Dwijen Padhi.
Members of MUFP Presidium.