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Orissa High Court orders fresh issuance of notice in a decade-old case

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The Orissa High Court ordered the fresh issuance of notices in a case upon finding that it was listed only twice for hearing in a decade. This case pertained to a lawyer activist moving court seeking compensation for being put behind bars in a “false” sedition case.

The lawyer activist, Pratima Das, was arrested on August 12, 2008 on allegations of participating in subversive activities of the banned CPI (Maoist). She was charge-sheeted in two cases under various grievous charges, including murder, dacoity and sedition.

Ms. Das had to stay in jails for over two years before courts acquitted her in those cases.

After her acquittal, she moved the Orissa HC seeking compensation and punishment for the officers involved in the alleged fabricated cases that caused her to suffer mental trauma and public humiliation.

“In neither of the two cases was the prosecution able to substantiate its case against the petitioner. But she suffered humiliation and harassment in jail for two years three months and five days,” said Prashant Jena, her lawyer.

Subsequently, Mr. Jena said, notices were issued to the State Home Department, three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and other police officers, for the “malicious cases”. However, the counters to the notices were never received.

When it came up for hearing on July 22, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice B. P. Routray observed, “Although this petition was filed in 2011, in the last ten years, it was listed only twice — on February 23, 2012 and September 6, 2012 — for hearing.”

Stating that the serving of notices was not complete, and the report of the serving of notices to two-three opposite parties was not available, the Bench directed the State Home Department to provide the correct present addresses of the opposite parties within four weeks.

The petitioner would thereafter file requisites for the serving of notices upon three left out parties by registered post with AD (acknowledgement due) returnable by November 16, 2021, the judgment said.

Reacting to the development, Ms. Das said, “The fabricated cases badly impacted my life. Media outlets presented my case in a colourful manner after going by the police’s version. I was branded a terrorist in society, apart from my painful days in jail.”

“But it was not enough. My family members too faced humiliation following my arrest. We never returned to the normal life of a lower middle class family. Compensation, as well as punishment for the errant officers, would send the right message to society,” she added.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 4:58:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/orissa-high-court-orders-fresh-issuance-of-notice-in-a-decade-old-case/article35522464.ece

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