Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada, April 27: During a workshop held on recent amendments in Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC) to sensitise prosecuting agencies like police and civil administrators and advocates, Sri Biswajit Das, District Judge and Chairman, District Legal Services Authority(DLSA), Rayagada said, “Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC) is the guiding force of the entire judiciary system. It is both accused friendly and appears to be victim friendly. State’s exemplary compensation to the victims has certainly shown the way. A baby is secured in the womb, during birth and after birth and just like a baby, an accused is defended pre, during and post arrest and trial. In spite of this, it is unfortunate that generally the accused does not speak the truth during trial in the court. Nevertheless, the prosecuting agencies should not be slaves of procedural diktats. When justice itself is the victim and justice cries for justice, it is wise even to violate mechanical procedures to ensure justice to the needy for leading a life with dignity. Passing on the responsibilities to each other by playing a blame game and pulling each other’s legs will lead us nowhere. To err is human. So let’s be collectively responsible for collective failure. Above all the court of laws is the court of conscience which should guide us all.” Sri Das agreed that these kind of marathon intellectual exercises sponsored by DLSA are meant for mutual learning & guidance for justice and sought cooperation from District Bar Association and District Administration to take this process forward by conducting theme based workshops.
Smt S Saini, DIG of Police, South-West Range, who joined as chief Guest on the occasion, pointed out about blatant loopholes in the investigation process and advised the Investigating Officers(IOs) to be cautious about the documentation of the case by doing away with unnecessary paper work. She expected a dialogue after each presentation by the resource person. “As IIC is overburdened and has hardly any time for investigation, it has a damaging effect. Scrutiny of the documentation and investigation is also the need of the hour. So, team work concept has to be given importance to gain time in investigation. Procedures are there in place to give justice. Shutting up unnecessary noise is not justice. Don’t shift the blame to each other thereby giving chance to the culprits to scot free. Though there is pressure from public and media for immediate arrests, the IOs must have restraints and act with professional standards. Avoid arbitrary arrests though lawyers are happy if there are more arrests. We are here not to meet the expectations of public but to abide by law. Morality must prevail upon procedures”, said Saini.
Sri Amrit Rituraj, IAS, Sub-Collector, Gunupur embarked upon section 133 to 145 and explained about the role of executive magistrates in taking up preventive measures to prevent breach of peace. “CrPC does not define public nuisance. Animal rights have also to be taken care of. The magistrate has to apply his mind with respect to law and human rights. Convergence of learning and action by law keepers, prosecutors is a befitting step in this regard’, said Rituraj.
Sri Braja Sundar nayak, Special Public Prosecutor explained the recent amendments in St-Sc Atrocities Act and dealt with section-3 of Chapter-II and 26 kinds of offences & section-161 and 8. Sri Patitapaban Choudhury, Additional SP, Rayagada elaborated on FIR, section 154, 43, 44, 151, 41-A. He mentioned that enforcement was some amount of coercion. Sri Rudra Prasad Mohapatra, Senior Civil Judge, Rayagada, talked about remand which he defined as recommitment of a person to custody. He spoke about investigation, inquiry & trial and said there are also certain practices against the law. Dr Mamata Mohanty, Nyayadhikari, Gram Nyayalaya Kolnara at Rayagada, dealt with bail procedures entailed in section-436 to 439. She said that the bail is matter of right. Matters like bailable and non-bailable offences and anticipatory bail by the apex court were explained lucidly.
Dr.Indu Sharma, Registrar, Civil Courts-cum-STC, Rayagada, critically analysed the sections like 354, 376, 498-A, 509 meant for offences against women and children. Issues like maintenance, domestic violence were briefly touched upon. She was critical about the delayed process of rendering justice to the already aggrieved women. She was concerned that hardly one percent of the maintenance cases were executed and there was hotch-potch at every level where each one justified his or her action. The problem starts with prosecution and trial court kills lot of time. Lot of time is taken in collecting evidence of rape wereas the evidences are of little use after passage of thirty six hours. She advised the participants to be extremely sensitive and empathetic to the plights of the rape victims and expedite the trial to give justice to the woman who is already ravished. Though there is a need of videography in case of mentally retarded and handicapped persons, camera trial for rape victims, there is infrastructural deficit. There is also dearth of interpreters.
Senior counsel Sri V S S Raju said, ”There is no perfection attainable in law. A common civil code is need of the hour as prescribed by Justice Krishna Iyer. CrPC needs lots of amendment. Rights of wives, children and parents to claim maintenance are social and legal obligations. Swachh Bharat concept is waste if there is no swachh paribar.“ Sri Bishnu Prasad Panda, President, Rayagada Bar association vividly talked about the rights to appeal under section 372 to 394 and lamented that there is no transparency followed in this aspect and the appeal disposal is very poor. Duty of the IOs does not end with charge sheet. Scrutinising the witnesses and other follow up measures need to be taken up.
The workshop, which was attended by Dr. Irshadun Nabi, CJM, top police officers of the district, SP, Collector and senior advocates, was moderated by Sri Hrushikesh Sahoo, Secretary DLSA, Rayagada, who extended vote of thanks.