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PUCL, Novmber 2007

PUCL expresses concern at delaying tactices

PEOPLE'S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES– CHHATTISGARH Post Box No. 87, Main Post Office, Raipur – 492001: Chhattisgarh: India E-mail: pucl.cg@gmail.com ============================================================

UPDATE On Dr. Binayak Sen:

Court orders police to and over DVD to Dr. Binayak Sen; Video-Conferencing has not been ordered by the Court

Raipur, 2nd November, 2007

The Additional District Judge, Raipur, Shri B S Saluja today ordered the Prosecution to hand over the DVD to Dr. Binayak Sen, which it had failed to do so on the pretext that it was an ‘article” (property) and not a “document”, and as such it could not be given to the defence. Challenging the position of the Prosecution, the counsels for Dr. Binayak Sen had argued on 28th October 2007 that under the amended Cr.P.C. Section 65-B, computer evidence is to be treated as “document”, and as such the accused was entitled for a copy of the same. Upholding the position taken by the counsel for Dr. Binayak Sen, the Trial Judge ordered that prosecution should hand over the copy of the concerned DVD to Dr. Binayak Sen before the next date of hearing i.e. 16th November, 2007, which has also been fixed for arguments in framing the charges.

It may be recalled that the police had seized the CPU of the Computer from the house on 19th May 2007, and had sent it for analysis to Hyderabad laboratory. But, it had deliberately delayed submitting the DVD of the said CPU as evidence both in the Trial Court and to the accused, Dr. Binayak Sen. As it is mandatory that the accused be provided with all the evidence before framing of the charges in the matter, the concerned Court was apprised of this lacunae on the part of the prosecution. The prosecution then submitted the DVD of the said CPU in the Court but refused to provide the accused a copy of the same. Thus, today’s Order by Shri B S Saluja, ADJ (Fast Track Court), Raipur is considered a victory of sorts exposing the “delay tactics” being adopted by the prosecution in this case.

Similarly, on the issue of Video-conferencing the concerned Court has clearly stated that it had passed no such orders, but it was the Jail Authorities that were applying for Video-conferencing in lieu of the personal appearance of the accused. Thus, the application moved by Dr. Binayak Sen in this regard was considered pre-mature and dismissed under the present circumstances. However, the Honb’le Court has also underlined in its Order today that at the time of framing of charges, evidence, cross examination of witnesses, or whenever this Court felt that the personal presence of the accused was necessary, it would ensure that the accused are definitely present physically and heard personally.

It may be noted that Dr. Binayak Sen had strongly objected to Trial by Video-conferencing, as he was not only denied the fundamental right to be present and heard by the Trial Court, but was kept in an intimidating situation in a room in the Raipur Central Prison heavily guarded by the Jail & Police personnel, that too without the presence and facility of his lawyers, friends and family whom he could consult from time-to-time. It may be noted that on the first day of hearing by Video-conferencing Dr. Binayak Sen had categorically complained that he could only see the face of the Hon’ble Judge, and not even see his lawyers.

The matter was argued on behalf of Dr. Binayak Sen by Adv Mahendra Dubey and Adv Sudha Bhardwaj on 28th October. The Special Prosecution Counsel Sri T C Pandya appeared on behalf of the State.

PUCL expresses concern at delaying tactices
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chhattisgarh Unit has expressed concern at the deliberate attempts by the State to delay the proceedings in the Court in the matter of Dr. Binayak Sen. Today’s Order by the Additional District Judge (Fast Track Court), Raipur ordering the Police to hand over a copy of the DVD of the CPU seized from the house of Dr. Ilina Sen (Dr. Sen’s wife) as it was definitely a document to which the accused was entitled under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, goes on to establish the “delay tactics” being adopted by the State Police to frustrate and harass Dr. Binayak Sen.

Similarly, the manner in which Dr. Binayak Sen was not brought to the Trial Court during the past four hearings on the pretext that the Jail Authorities had provided for Video-conferencing is a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of the accused. It may be noted that the Raipur Central Prison, where Dr. Sen is lodged presently, is hardly one Kms away from the District Court. Yet the State authorities are refusing to bring him to the Court on the pretext of “security”, while another accused, Sri Narayan Sanyal, a senior member of the politburo of the CPI (Maoist), lodged in Bilaspur Jail (some 125 Kms away) was being brought to the Raipur District Court.

Welcoming today’s Order by the ADJ, the PUCL has also appealed to the State authorities to refrain from such “delay tactics” and ensure Fair Trial in this highly sensitive case of a human rights activist being illegally and fraudulently booked under the draconian laws like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, and the UAPA 2004.

The PUCL has also convened a meeting of its State Executive Committee on 11th November 2007 at Raipur to take stock of the present human rights situation in Chhattisgarh, plan its future action to demand the repeal of Black Laws, and formulate thße representation on behalf of the people of Chhattisgarh to the United National Human Rights Council meeting later in the year.

-- Rajendra K Sail President Mobile: 098268-04519

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014