It is an established fact that the Indian Judiciary, higher or lower is corrupt. The recent exposes regarding the PF scam and the Punjab HC wiretap scandals have revealed the extent of the rot.
A the lower level, the mechanical remand of the accused in 498A cases by lower court magistrates is rampant.
My mother and sister were remanded for 11 days by such a magistrate. He was bribed by my ex-father-in-law in the belief that I would pay up and settle the case if I my family was jailed.
This practice of remanding innocents is illegal. This was declared as such by the Justice Regupathy of the Chennai HC. This is what he has to say:
- When the investigating officers seek for remand of the accused, the Magistrates must examine the necessity for the same and only where there are valid grounds for believing that the accusation or information is well- founded and it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within a period of 24 hours, remand may be ordered. Violation of human rights and infringement of personal liberties must be viewed seriously. Except in cases of grave nature viz., dowry death, murder, suicide, hurt, etc., in other matters like matrimonial disputes between spouses where it may not take much time for the police officer to interrogate/investigate, remand should not be ordered mechanically, for, remand of an accused by a Magistrate is not automatic one on the mere request of the investigating officer and sufficient grounds must exist for the Magistrate to exercise the power of remand.
- Of course, it is provided in the Code that remand should not exceed 15 days at a time, but, it does not mean that in all cases, remand for 15 days should be ordered invariably.
- Though the law is manifestly clear, plain and patent, in many cases, it is witnessed that, on the mere request of the investigating officers, remand is ordered mechanically without application of mind and such illegal practice must be avoided.
- The preliminary job of an Investigating Officer including that of the Officers posted at the All Women Police Stations is only to collect the materials in respect of the dispute they are investigating and place the same before the court/Magistrate. For adjudicating any issue, the dispute must be forwarded only to the learned Magistrate or the Family court. In this type of fragile matters, in the name of ‘petition enquiry’ or investigation after registration of F.I.R., the police should not be allowed to conduct lengthy panchayats in police stations.
When applying for bail, or when being presented before a magistrate, please have a copy of Justics Regupathy’s orders with you. They are applicable all over India by the doctrine of binding precedence and because the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is the national code.
Besides, the right to life and liberty is a guaranteed, cherished, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, which these magistrates can’t and shouldn’t violate for any reason, except just cause.