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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prison van driven 96 miles to take defendant 60 yards – Democratic deliverance of Justice.

The British ruled us for centuries and have left behind legacy.  We follow them in many ways.. most of our laws are based on the UK legislated statutes.. Democracy is Government for the people by the people and the majority decides what is good for the Country ! – then there are Human Rights activists who ensure that people do not suffer unduly at the hands of democratically elected rulers !!
Kasab is in news (continues to be)  - months back when a journalist asked why he cannot be hanged immediately after the Sessions Court verdict,  the Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily had an interesting answer:   "The question is that it is not Afzal or anybody. You know you cannot pick and choose and hang people. There is justice. Terrorists who killed Indira Gandhi are still waiting. He has to be hanged. There is one more terrorist who is involved in terrorism. He is waiting. I am not defending anyone but I am for evolving a system for mercy petitions." (And in India we all know how long it will take to 'evolve a system')  The Minister also said that there were many people waiting in the death row in Pakistan, who included Indians. "And do you want all of them to be hanged immediately ?" he asked.
(Source : MSN :  http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4944723&page=0)
Don’t despise him.  He is not a sinner – there are much more important things to do for a democratically elected Government and the Nation sure would soon forget the wounds of 26th Nov 2008.   On that fateful day, more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing shook the entire Nation – the terrorists invaded from Pak sea waters and went on carnage killing 164 and wounding more than 308.  The attacks occurred at Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Taj hotel, Leopold Care, Cama Hospital, Jewish community centre at Nariman house and more.  Many brave uniformed personnel sacrificed their lives -  one of the attackers Ajmal Kasab was captured alive.  There was photographic, videographic and in person evidence of this heinous crime and the attacker.  The Nation was outraged and severa Indian lawyers refused to represent Kasab citing ethical concerns. A resolution was passed unanimously by the  Bombay Metropolitan Magistrate Court's Bar Association, which has more than 1,000 members, saying that none of its members will defend any of the accused of the terror attacks.
India is a democracy and wants everything to be fair even to its attacker !  Kasab wrote to the Pakistani High Commission in India requesting help and legal aid. In the letter, he confirmed the nationality of himself and the nine slain terrorists as Pakistani.  Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab lives and laughs still today – the families of some of those brave souls are living in chill penury and some of those injured are leading a miserable life.   On 3 May 2010, Court convicted him of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges and on 6th May trial court sentenced him to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five other counts. He was found guilty of 80 offenses, including waging war against the nation; Kasab's death sentence was upheld by the Bombay High Court on 21 February 2011
We are a Nation bound by procedures.  The convict  Kasab has challenged his conviction and death sentence in the Supreme Court, which has asked for trial court records.  According to reports,  Maharashtra government has appointed a panel of two top lawyers in the country to prosecute the sole surviving 26/11 terror attack convict, Ajmal Aamir Kasab, in the Supreme Court hearing. Fixing the fee for Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam, a former solicitor general of the country, at Re 1, it has decided to pay several lakhs to advocate Ujjwal Nikam. The duo will together represent the state in the case.  It is stated that  Advocate Gopal Subramaniam's total fee will be Re 1. However, he can claim for the actual miscellaneous expenses occurred during the period. Advocate Ujjwal Nikam's result-oriented hearing fee will be Rs. 50,000 per appearance, besides Rs. 10,000 an hour for discussion and exchange of opinion. He will also be get business-class air travel for visits related to the case, along with a ministerial suite at Maharashtra Sadan in the capital. (Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/business-class-travel-for-nikam-as-he-prosecutes-kasab-136557&cp)

--- now something from  Daily Mail of UK.  
UK also honours Justice and ensures that all get fair and just treatment.  The report states that a prison van travelled 96 miles to transfer a defendant just 60 yards from a police station to a court because walking would 'infringe his human rights'. A criminal Oliver Thomas had to be presented in Magistrates Court and that was situated almost 60 yards away from Banbury Police Station and could take a 30 second walk.   But if he were to be produced in the Court that way, the Police would have to handcuff the prisoner and take him down the street y walk – and that perhaps could stray into the area of human rights !! they have a right to have their identity protected and such production into Courts is usually done by a covered vehicle, provided specially by a contracted agency.  It is reported that the request for a van came late and all nearby based vehicles and crews had been allocated other routes and schedules.  So,
- a prison van was sent from South Coast to take the defendant on this 60 yard journey and the journey reportedly cost the Govt around £1,000.  Newspaper reports suggest  that a taxi journey from Southampton to Banbury, one-way, would cost approximately £276 for the two hour journey.  Wages for two staff in the van for the entire day were said to approximate £400, plus vehicle upkeep and costs which took the total to over £1,000 for the single trip.  It emerged later that the prison transport firm which moved Thomas was based in Oxford, just a few miles from Banbury, but had to send a van from Southampton as no vehicle was available. Defence barrister Claire Fraser said she was informed that GEOAmey, which is paid £90million a year to take defendants between custody and courts, had to send a van across three counties to transport Thomas from the police station to the magistrates' court traversing 96 miles for transporting a distance of less than 60 yards.  Judge Corrie came down harsh on the spending of public money this way.   
Coming back to India,  there were reports that considering various aspects including the other mercy petitions on wait,  Kasab's turn may come somewhere around 2018 or beyond. By then we would have spent close to Rs 100 crore in keeping him alive and secure.  In Feb 2011, there were widely circulated media reports that the  Maharashtra government spends close to Rs 9 lakh a day to keep the 21-year-old terrorist from the Pakistani town of Faridkot 'safe' till he goes to the gallows. The government had spent Rs 31 crore on Kasab by November 2010. "The state's debt has crossed the Rs 1.85 lakh crore mark. But of course, where security of the state and the country is concerned, we don't discuss the financial situation,'' a senior government official was quoted in an agency report.  The Rs 31 crore figure is strictly unofficial since the government is wary of letting out any information on Kasab. Following the directives of the Centre, besides procuring weapons for emergency use, vehicles and equipment, two special cells were created inside Arthur Road jail and JJ hospital for Kasab which involved huge cost.   Besides the special prison cell, another cell was created inside JJ Hospital for Kasab's treatment. Nearly Rs 1 crore was spent for the creation of a bullet-proof cell on the JJ Hospital premises for Kasab. The irony is that after the money was spent, Kasab was never taken there. Instead, doctors were summoned to the Arthur Roadjail, whenever Kasab had a health problem.  And Kasab, who was wounded before being captured, has been attended to by around 20 doctors for his various ailments in the past year.
The Maharashtra government also spends a large amount on the deployment of central forces to guard the Arthur Road jail.  Apart from all this, tax-payers money was used to realign Mumbai monorail along the  Arthur Road jail because Kasab is in there.
Long live democracies – and the fair deliverance of Justice…..

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