Madhu Purnima Kishwar
Profile of Madhu Purnima Kishwar

Madhu Purnima Kishwar is Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)—a social science research centre, based in Delhi. Director of the Indic Studies Project based at CSDS aimed at the study of diverse faith traditions and cultures in the Indic civilisation. She is the ...

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    Madhu Purnima Kishwar’s Blog
    “I have a horror of all isms, especially those that attach themselves to proper names”.
    -- M. K. Gandhi --
    Posted on: January 1, 2013
    Hold them to account
    First Published in : The Times of India, January 25, 2010
    image

    Those of us who felt outraged at Ram Jethmalani's crude defence of S P S Rathore, and the attack on the credentials of Ruchika and Aradhana's families, to the extent of challenging the veracity of Ruchika's complaint would do well to remember that the vicious counter-allegations, blatant character assassination of the victim, filing of bogus counter-cases against the victim, her friends and family has become a routine conduct of criminal lawyers, especially those who are hired to defend men accused of crimes against women.

    The legal brains hired by Rathore to defend him in the courts are as responsible as Rathore himself for implicating Ruchika's brother in false cases, of hounding Ruchika's father and brother out of their own home and hometown, witch-hunting Aradhana's father, harassing journalists with defamation cases and using other pressures for daring to cover the story in Punjab papers. Without the active cooperation of lawyers Rathore could not have dragged the case on for 19 long years,  leading to serious miscarriage of justice.

    It is indeed important to assume a person innocent until proven guilty. In the interest of fair trial it is vital that even those accused of heinous crimes have lawyers to defend them. However, it is a blatant debasement of our judicial system to overlook the use of falsehoods employed by lawyers to defend their clients. The first and foremost duty  of a lawyer ought to be to assist the court in delivering justice which can happen only if lawyers do not consider it their right to use illegal or dishonest means to mislead the court -- using the specious plea that they are merely performing a professional duty for which they have been hired.

    While society at large may socially ostracise and shun a man guilty of serious crimes, lawyers are treated as virtual celebrities if they are successful in using their legal acumen to help murderers, rapists, arsonists and those accused of hate crimes escape due punishment. Even though Section 195 of IPC states that "giving or fabricating false evidence with an intent to get someone convicted is a crime punishable with jail term of 7 years or upwards" the judiciary has rarely taken a tough stand against lawyers who enable their clients to implicate others in false cases, twist facts out of shape or use devious, dishonest means to help their clients escape due punishment.

    As per the IPC, in all such matters, the court has to be the complainant. A petitioner can bring such matters to the notice of the court by filing an application under Section 340 of CrPC but it is rare for courts to take action in cases of false evidence. Most important of all, only litigants are covered by this law. There is no liability on lawyers. That is why eminent legal luminaries have no hesitation in assisting the Rathores of this world cover up their own crimes and terrorise victims with false cases.

    Not surprisingly, most people despise the courts and dread the colonial legal system, which has such perversions built into it. This is an important reason why the hold of traditional caste and biradari panchayats is still strong in India.

    Way back in 1908, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Hind Swaraj: "Lawyers...will, as a rule, advance quarrels instead of repressing them. Moreover, men take up that profession, not in order to help others out of their miseries, but to enrich themselves...and their interest exists in multiplying disputes." The more heinous a crime, the higher the fee the lawyers get. The more lawyers drag the case, the more money they make. It's not surprising, therefore, that they have acquired a vested interest in crime and criminals. The agenda of judicial reforms must take all these issues head on. It would be a sign of mental slavery if we accept the existing flawed system simply because we inherited it from our colonial rulers.

    Comment(1)
     
    Section 195 of IPC states that "giving or fabricating false evidence with an intent to get someone convicted is a crime punishable with jail term of 7 years or upwards"

    Now this is something ,madhu ,I feel is very important section which should be highly publicised and brought in to public domain vigorously...Ram Jethmalani & Majid memon are some renowned names that have done more harm to society than solved problems..

    An educative post all in all...
    Posted By : Rajesh Thakkar, On Date: Friday, January 04, 2013
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