Legal delays result in a standstil
UPDATE : Dr. Binayak Sen's case:
At the trial court, Raipur
Raipur , 8th October, 2007 (Monday)
Legal delays form part of the proceedings in Dr. Binayak Sen's case at the Court of the Additional District Judge (Fast Track Court), Raipur. Chhattisgarh.
Although the case is now fixed for framing of charges at the trial court, during the past ten days, the compete evidence material has not yet been handed over by the prosecution to Dr. Binayak Sen, a fundamental right of an accused. The police had been shouting hoarse since inception in this case that the CPU of the Computer seized from Dr. Sen's residence contained material evidence, which was sent for analysis to Hyderabad. However, the final analysis report has not yet been filed in the Trial Court, nor has a copy been provided to the accused.
On 29th September, 2007, an application was moved by the legal counsel for Dr. Binayak Sen u/s 207 demanding a copy of the DVD ( in which the analysis report of the CPU is said to be recorded according to the police). Interestingly, the Preliminary Report of the CPU that the police claims has been received from Hyderabad laboratory is also nothing but a letter acknowledging the contents of the CPU, and not any analysis.
The Trial Court had fixed 3rd October 2007 for the State Counsel to file a reply to the said application. But, on 3rd October, the prosecution lawyer kept informing the Court that the same would be filed late in the afternoon. But, around 3 pm on that day, the Court was informed that they were seeking advise from the office of the Superintendent of Police, Raipur. And, therefore, asked for more time. The Court fixed 8th October, 2007 for filing the reply or to provide the Analytical Report of the CPU.
Interestingly today again, the prosecution failed to file a reply seeking more time. However, the Hon'ble Court has given the prosecution last time to file a reply and/or provide the report of the CPU to the Court and the accused. Given the holidays in between from now onwards, the date for arguments on the matter is now fixed on 22nd October, 2007.
In a Solidarity ex-pression, groups and individuals were present in large numbers in the Raipur District Court on 29th September 2007. Many of them had come to participate in the SHAHEED NIYOGI DIWAS on 28th September, 2007, observed at Dalli-Rajhara by the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM).
Prominent amongst those were Sri Surendra Mohan, Senior Socialist Leader, Ms. Manju Mohan, Com. Janak Lal Thakur (President, CMM), Com. Meghdas Vaishnav (Vice-President, CMM), Com Basant Sahu (Member, State Executive Committee, CG PUCL), Shri Shyam Bahadur 'Namra' (Poetand Educationist, Anooppur, MP), Com. Monasur (Trade Union Leader, Kanpur), Sri Chittaranjan Singh ( Vice-President, UP PUCL and Organizing Secretary, National PUCL), Ms. Shashi Sail (Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sangathan), Adv Sudha Bhardwaj (State Executive Committee Member, CG PUCL), Sri Balchand Kachwaha (Former Prof. Durga College, and a Gandhian), Mr. Prafulla jha (Freelance Journalist), Dr Ilina Sen (Roopantar), Ms. Pranhita Sen, Adv Sadiq Ali, etc.
TRIAL BY VIDEO-CONFERENCING?
One of the biggest hurdles in the fair trial is the video-conferencing. On 29th September, Dr. Binayak Sen and Mr. Piyush Guha were not produced in the Court, although the Raipur Central Jail is hardly 300 meters away from the District Court. The Jail Superintendent, Raipur wrote to the District Judge, Raipur, expressing inability to produce the accused in the Court due to various reasons, primarily due to "security reasons". Along with these two, he had sent names of other three accused, under-trial prisoners lodged in Raipur Central Jail. All five of them have been categorized as "naxalites" by the Jail authorities, by some strange methods adopted by the Administration.
During the video-conferencing it was clear that Dr. Sen could see only the face of the Judge, and not even realize the presence of the lawyers. There is no possibility in such video-conferencing to consult the lawyer at any stage of the trial proceedings. Dr. Sen objected to this procedure being adopted, which was substantiated by an application by filed on his behalf by the lawyers.
The issue of Video-conferencing is to be seriously opposed by the PUCL and other human rights organizations. In the name of speedy-trials, this method curtails certain freedom and rights of the accused. Not to speak of highly educated person like Dr. Binayak Sen, who was feeling uncomfortable and constrained during the Video-conferencing, what about the uneducated rural citizens/accused/under-trials, who feel at a loss even when using the telephone system.
Although, green signal has been given to Video-conferencing by the Supreme Court of India, the PUCL – Chhattisgarh is exploring the possibility of challenging the procedure in this particular case, as it violates the freedom and rights of an accused to defend himself/herself. The PUCL strongly feels that the consent of the "accused" and his "lawyer" must be obtained before permitting the Video-conferencing.
Strangely, Mr. Narayan Sanyal, another accused in the case, was brought by the Jail Authorities from Bilaspur, some 125 kms away from Raipur Court, and not Dr. Binayak Sen and Mr. Piyush Guha, who are lodged in the Raipur Central Jail, only 300 meters away from the District Court.
We appeal to all concerned to kindly guide us on this sensitive legal issue of trials through VIDEO-CONFERENCING.
Rajendra K Sail President , Chhattisgarh PUCL
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)-Chhattisgarh P O Box 87, Main Post Office, Raipur – 492001: Chhattisgarh E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org