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JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION- MODI YOU CAN DO HERE - After 29 years, man acquitted of stealing Rs 57



by: B.S.Goraya

We append here three glaring examples of delay in justice. Is it not mockery of justice that a man remains in jail for 54 years or 42 years as under-trial ?  In another case a man is acquitted after 29 years of charges of stealing Rs. 57. These are not isolated cases, this is happening. Justice is being denied in India.

Ten years ago when Manmohan Singh became PM of India, we wished for the success of a Sikh PM and wrote that despite his limitations of surviving on the whims of Nehru -Gandhi family he could still perform in certain sectors. We thought Mrs. Sonia Gandhi would not object to certain reforms here and there. Justice administration was one example we gave, where no special technology was required and what was required was the will to do. We cited examples how India justice system hold the dubious distinction  keeping an under-trial prisoner in jail continuously for 50 years. From the statements he made it became clear to us that our humble suggestion did reach the North Block.  But alas the helpless Sikh PM could not overhaul the justice system in India. May be his hands were tied because vested interests in Congress might have stopped judicial reforms. We believe Narender Modi has no such limitations and can perhaps start judicial reforms. This will be the easiest thing to do to make the judiciary accountable for delay in justice. 

After 29 years, man acquitted of stealing Rs 57

Dec 3, 2013, 05.33AM IST TNN[ Faiz Rahman Siddiqui ]
KANPUR: Some times justice delayed is not merely justice denied but downright cruel. Wrongly accused of pocketing Rs 57.60, postman Umakant Mishra remained suspended from his government job for nearly 30 years. He retired three years ago and was absolved of the charge in a court last month, but he remains a shattered man.

Umakant worked in a post-office in Harjinder Nagar area of Kanpur. Department authorities at the post office handed Mishra Rs 697.60 in cash to distribute as money-order. Of the total Rs 697.60, Umakant distributed Rs 300 and the rest he claimed to have returned to his senior colleagues. But they accused him of stealing Rs 57.60 and lodged an FIR against him.

That was on July 13, 1984. A case was registered against him for stealing Rs 57, and he was promptly suspended. The police booked him for criminal breach of trust.

It took nearly 350 hearings and 29 years for Umakant to prove himself innocent, but the loss he suffered in this period was enormous. The judgment was delivered by a metropolitan magistrate on November 25.

Umakant wept when he was approached for an interview. Struggling to find words, Umakant said, "I retired three years ago and remained suspended for nearly 26 years. I have no idea what to say or do."

His wife Geeta said, "I am relieved and happy with the verdict, but if we'd got justice at the right time, our children's career wouldn't have got ruined. We lived with the stigma and financial trouble for so long that our future is destroyed."

"This is apathy at its worst. We lost everything, borrowed money for our livelihood, children's education and marriage," she said. "Without regular income, we had trouble arranging for the education and marriage of our children. We sought donation to marry off our two daughters. Since we could not educate our children, our son Ganga has an insecure job. 


Film on Indian undertrial to feature Hollywood stars

When undertrial prisoner Boka Thakur was released from Bihar's Madhubani Jail in 1987, it was no ordinary incident for it implied the end of 42 years of incarceration without conviction for the man.
Thakur holds the record of being world's longest serving undertrial and now a film on him is in the pipeline featuring Hollywood artists. 
'Boka Thakur - The Coffin Maker' will be launched early next year and it will be directed by Sharad Sharan. Thakur, who had an expertise in making coffins, was arrested in 1945 on murder charges and sent to Madhubani Jail.
He spent nearly 42 years as undertrial, but charges against him could not be proved in the court. In the meantime, his wife passed away and his family disintegrated.
Thakur was finally released from jail in 1987, but his freedom was short-lived as he died a few months later in the ravaging floods that hit Bihar the same year.
Talking to UNI in Mumbai, Sharan said Thakur's life had been very poignant. He said he decided to put Thakur's life on celluloid after reading about him in newspapers.
Sharan said he had to spent a lot of time gathering information about Thakur as only sketchy details were available. As part of research for the film, he made several trips to Bihar jails and Patna High Court.
During one of those visits, Sharan came in contact with Thakur's lawyer and Supreme Court advocate Kamlesh Jain, who provided him further details about the undertrial's life.
The director said the film's script is being written by well-known writer of Indian origin settled in Britain Faroukh Dhondy. Talks are on with an American company for the film's production, Sharan added.
A Hollywood artist has been chosen for the role of Boka Thakur, Sharan said, declining to identify the actor.
'Kis Kis Ko', a film directed by Sharan, a Delhi University graduate, would release later this month. This film is based on the all-men music group 'Band of Boys'.

  Case pendency in HC at all-time high
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 24
The pendency of cases in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has witnessed a rise despite an increase in the disposal of matters. As a result, the pendency touched an all-time high of 2,62,760 cases in December last as compared to 2,51,120 in the beginning of 2013.

The annual report released by the High Court reveals an increase of 11,640 civil and criminal cases till December 2013. The report suggests that 1,15,727 cases were instituted in the High Court in 2012, compared to 1,23,101 in 2013.
“There is more disposal than it was during the last year. However, because of high institution of cases, there is an overall increase in the cases,” the report says.
The number of crime against women cases has come down by 155 from 1,930 in January 2013 to 1,775 by year-end. The pendency of corruption cases also decreased by 210 from 1,222 in January, 2013, to 1,012 by the year-end.
Efforts put in by the judiciary resulted in a fall in the number of cases against juveniles as well. The number went down from 5,090 in January, 2013, to 4,062 by the year-end.
The report adds the High Court has been working on various fronts to enhance its efficiency to keep in pace with the changing trends and technology and to live up to the expectations of the changing world. “With a vision to provide all possible facilities to litigants, Bar and other stakeholders, the High Court has been working on various plans. Some of the recent initiatives which will yield dividends in the near future include paperless courts, e-filing for all type of cases, arbitration centre, visitor centre, multi-level parking, food court, additional administrative area, new judges library and SMS acknowledgement of case filing, objection, copy and judgments.
Situation better in lower courts
The situation, however, has improved in subordinate courts where the pendency registered a decline of 12,164 cases from 11,51,304 in the beginning of 2013 to 11,39,140 by the year-end. The dip can be attributed to an increase in the number of judicial officers in the district courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. In the beginning of 2013, there were 883 judicial officers, including 246 District and Sessions Judges/Additional District and Sessions Judges and 637 Civil Judges-cum-Judicial Magistrates in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The strength of judicial officers increased from 883 to 916 by year-end.  

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