PERVEZ BARI reports how the activists of a ‘communal force’, apparently unhappy over denial of bail to some of their leaders, allegedly attacked the judges with the help of the district administration.
The Bharatiya Janata Party Government in Madhya Pradesh, it seems, is tightening screws on different pillars of democracy through the powers at its command to further the cause of implementing its not-so-hidden agenda.
One step in this direction is the browbeating and harassing of judiciary, a prominent pillar of democracy, to fall in line so that no spoke is put in the wheels of carrying out its agenda.
The case in point here is the alleged harassment of four judges in Indore, the financial capital of Madhya Pradesh, on September 20 when they were on their way to courts in their official vehicle to preside over the cases. They were not only stopped but also detained for about half an hour under the scorching sun. They were reportedly forced to get off the Government vehicle and humiliated while a huge bemused crowd assembled at the spot not knowing exactly as to what was going on there.
The judges’ haranguing one of the police personnel is reported to have sarcastically remarked: "If judges are judges then police is police. If judges are mighty in courts then police is powerful on roads."
Some police inspectors, including a traffic inspector, had stopped the district court vehicle and ‘misbehaved’ with four senior officers of judicial service at Regal Square of Indore. CBI special judge D K Mittal and three officials of the rank of First Class Judicial Magistrate (Direndra Singh, Vikram Singh and A K Batham) were reportedly travelling in the vehicle.
After the judges were "released" they complained to the Indore District Judge who is reported to have ordered an inquiry into the whole incident.
It is learnt that when the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan came to know about the incident he, through his secretariat in Bhopal, directed the Indore Collector and Superintendent of Police to call on the District Judge and seek an apology. The District Judge was also reportedly requested to close the matter then and there without getting it publicised.
Meanwhile, the main Opposition Congress party in the State, taking strong exception of the incident has described the misbehaviour of police personnel with the judges as very shameful. It said howsoever strongly the incident may be condemned but still it would fall short of it. This aptly shows that the law and order in the State has gone from bad to worse, it added.
An 11-member delegation of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) led by Deepchand Yadav, general secretary and media in-charge has submitted a memorandum to the State Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar protesting the alleged insult of judges by the police officials in Indore. The Governor reportedly assured the MPCC delegation that the matter would be investigated and strict action would be taken against the culprits.
Referring to the September 20 incident, Deepchand Yadav has charged that it took place at the instance of the BJP Government. "The third pillar of democracy has been insulted which reflects fascist attitude of the rightist BJP Government," he said. It was probably the first incident in which senior officers of judicial service have been harassed publicly, he added.
MPCC spokespersons KK Mishra and Brijmohan Srivastava have demanded strict action against the culprits. They said it was the responsibility of the Government to maintain the dignity of constitutional institutions.
Mishra alleged that the police officials under political patronage misbehaved with judges. He said it proved that no one was safe in the State under the BJP regime. "After attacking government servants and journalists, BJP supporters have started attacking judiciary. This speaks volumes about the prevailing lawlessness in the State," Mishra added.
The background of this whole episode is the denial of bail to four members of saffron brigade by the Judicial Magistrate First Class of Indore, A.K. Sharma on September 14, 2006.
It may be mentioned here that 12 persons, eight Muslims and four Hindus, were arrested under IPC Sections 147, 336, 447 & 3/5 of Public Property Damage Act following communal tension in perennially sensitive area Northtoda of Indore on September 12 last. A political pressure was brought through senior political leaders of Hindu organisations to which the accused Hindus were associated to get the accused released on bail.
The police presented the accused in the court on September 13 where the Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP), in a written statement, pleaded that the four may be granted bail to which it had no objection. This raised the eyebrows of the First Class Judicial Magistrate Indore A.K. Sharma, the dealing judge. He noted in his order sheet while denying bail that the APP has stated against the rules that it had no objection in granting bail to the accused which not only indicates his mind but it seems that the accused are anti-socials backed by political patronage who may influence the witnesses in future.
Thus, the activists of a ‘communal force’, apparently unhappy over denial of bail to some of their leaders, allegedly attacked the judges with the help of the district administration.
The indulgence in pressure politics by BJP regime since it came to power about three years ago is crystal clear. It wants to silence the critics and pave the way for enforcing its ideology on one and all. The recent case of lifting of ban on Madhya Pradesh Government employees in joining RSS activities is also a step to tame and inculcate them with its ideology.