Mumbai: Kurla businessman to drag state to court for wrongful arrest
Citing the SC order of 2014, Kurla businessman says despite the apex court giving directions to be followed by states in such cases, several innocents continue to languish in jails even after acquittal
Ganesh Nakathe, a small-time social activist and businessman from Kurla, had to spend four days behind bars in an alleged fake extortion case registered by the Kurla police in 2016 before securing bail. And that's when (during his stay in Arthur Road jail), he said, he found out that many who had been acquitted by courts were languishing inside, with no support or compensation for the wrongful confinement.
He has now issued a legal notice through his lawyer to the state chief secretary and additional chief secretary (Home), after the state home department failed to respond to his RTI application seeking status update on the formation of a Standing Committee comprising senior officers of the police and prosecution departments, as directed by the Supreme Court in 2014. Nakathe said the Home department failed to reply despite the State Information Commission passing an order, directing it to.
Ganesh Nakathe, found during his stay in Arthur Road jail that many who had been acquitted by courts were languishing inside, with no support or compensation for the wrongful confinement. Representation pic
What the SC had said
In the notice, Nakathe's lawyer Rajeshwar Panchal had given seven days to senior bureaucrats to respond. "Their silence indicates non-compliance of the SC order, and that is a violation of citizens' civil liberties and, therefore, contempt of court. We will file a petition soon," said Panchal.
Talking about the 2014 SC order, Panchal said it categorically stated, "Every acquittal should be understood as a failure of the justice delivery system in serving the cause of justice. Likewise, every acquittal should ordinarily lead to the inference that an innocent person was wrongfully prosecuted. It is, therefore, essential that every state put in place a procedural mechanism to ensure that the cause of justice is served, which would simultaneously safeguard the interests of the innocent. It is considered essential to direct the Home department of every state to examine all orders of acquittal and record reasons for the failure of each prosecution case. A standing committee of senior officers of the police and prosecution departments should be vested with aforesaid responsibility. The consideration at the hands of the above committee… whether sheer negligence or culpable lapses (those responsible) must suffer departmental action. The above mechanism would infuse seriousness in investigating and prosecuting duties, and ensure that investigation and prosecution are purposeful and decisive."
'Victim of police atrocity'
Nakathe said, "I was booked in a false case of extortion by certain senior police officers, who were upset with my raising concern over corrupt activities through numerous RTI applications."
"I felt so humiliated for being tagged as an accused with no evidence against me… the police were quick to file a charge sheet at Kurla court, where the trial is yet to begin. After I moved a petition in Bombay High Court for quashing the false FIR against me, the local police approached me and asked me to withdraw my petition," he added.
Panchal said, "Nakathe is a victim of police atrocity; it is very evident that even today they don't comply with SC directions, which clearly state that the provisions laid under section 41 (A) of the Criminal Procedure Code should be adhered to strictly, where arrest is not required, in cases of offence that attract less than seven years of imprisonment."
When contacted, Lalasaheb Shetye, senior inspector at Kurla police station, said, "I don't remember the case against the petitioner offhand and will have to revert back."
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