"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recent Judgments

Ghosts of the past

P. Vijayan v. State of Kerala & Anr. CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 192 OF 2010 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 4708 of 2007). Date of Judgment 27-01-10

The appellant herein is an IPS officer, retired as the DGP of the state of Kerala, who claims to have had a decisive role in successfully (!) controlling the Naxalite militancy. Earned laurels and commendations for it, but never thought that ghosts of the past are going to haunt his retired life.

The whole incident started with the confession of Mr. Ramachandran Nair, a retired Constable of Kerala Police, where he busted the official narrative of the death of Mr. Varghese alias Naxalite Varghese as an encounter death. The incident happened on 18.02.70 and Mr. Nair revealed that it was he who fired the gun in a set up far from encounter, in the process implicating the appellant herein. A CBI inquiry was conducted and charge sheet was filed with the appellant as the third accused.

The present case is an appeal against the order of High Court which affirmed the lower courts decision to dismiss the petition under Section 227, Cr. P.C for discharge. The SC found no reason to interfere with the judgment of the High Court. The Court comprehended the legal principles to be followed while a discharge petition is entertained.

What intrigued me is the shift of status a hero of official records to a grave human rights violator. Official histories it is not said in vain that is of the winners and could be far from truth.

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