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.

Why the Judgment against G. Udayagiri Member of Orissa Assembly is Noteworthy?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

There is nothing noteworthy in sentencing a man called Manoj Pradhan to 7 years of imprisonment by a First Track Court for a murder offense. But noteworthy is the fact that Pradhan is a member of Orissa Legislative Assembly elected from G.Udayagiri Constituency in 2009 election, the same election that has helped the incumbent Chief Minister capture the chair for the third term.

Judge Sovan Kumar Das has on June 29 found him guilty of offenses under Section 326 (making severe injury to a person that caused his death) and Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon or anything capable of causing death).

And his crime is viewed in the context of mass mania created in Hindu community following the murder of Hindu activist Laxmanananda, who had emerged as the strongest obstacle to conversion of Hindu society’s poorer fellows to Christianity in the district of Kandhamal.

Pradhan belongs to BJP, the party of the communalists that are eager for transforming India from a Constitutionally Secular State to a Hindu Religious State (Hindurastra). It is easy to assume that murder of Parikhit Digal, a Christian resident of Barepanga village under the Raikia Police Station on August 27, 2008, for which Pradhan has been held guilty, was an act to avenge the death of Laxmanananda.

In view of the judgment, Pradhan is a rioter that caused death. But there is nothing noteworthy in that. Any rioter or murderer may belong to any political party. In fact, in political parties at present these sorts of people rule the roost. So Pradhan being a member of BJP is not noteworthy.

What is noteworthy is that, he had bagged massive majority of the votes in the constituency when he was put behind the bars due to his role in the riots. He had defeated his nearest rival by over 30,000 votes.

The judgment is noteworthy because of this.

This judgment gives us opportunity to understand that in our system persons who catch massive votes may possibly be the persons, who could one day be held guilty of heinous crimes like murder, attempt to murder, loot and arson.

This happens, when people without reading a person on the matrix of sacrifice for common cause give whimsical and misconceived support to sons or daughters of political fathers, retired service-holders that had drawn salaries from the State Exchequer, Bankers and others that were habituated in sabotaging democracy to facilitate emergence of plutocracy.

Judge Sovan Das’s judgment is significant is this context as it reaffirms a phenomenon that the gullible voters give their massive support in elections to politicians not because of their positive contributions to society, but because, criminals are more organized, influential and insurmountable.

No wonder election 2009 has ushered in persons to power that play havoc upon our motherland in order to safeguard and serve the interest of foreign traders, mass-killers, mine-mongers, land-grabbers and looters of our natural resources. It is difficult to say who in politics is how much different from Manoj Pradhans; because all of those in power say their victory is because of the mass support they enjoy.

The judgment on G.Udayagiri MLA is capable of being used as a mirror, by looking into which, our democracy may remove the dirtiness its face has acquired in course of its “tryst with the destiny” so far.

This is why the judgment is noteworthy.