Be you ever so high, the law is always above you!

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It is an irony of a sort that Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court delivers a judgment (Lalita Kumari Vs Govt. of U.P. & Ors) permitting preliminary enquiry in exceptional cognizable cases where there is abnormal delay in initiating criminal prosecution and reporting without explaining the reasons for delay. Thus, it permits the police to hold back registration of FIR until prima facie satisfied. Before the ink dries away from the Judgment, within hours, Supreme Court had to set up a committee to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations of a cognizable offence committed by a former Judge of the same court. Going by the allegations in the blog, one can safely presume that the offence squarely fall under Section 354 IPC, i.e. “assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty”.  To be specific, ‘whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both’.  Since the offence is alleged to have been committed during the regime of old code, the newly introduced and more stringent section 354(A) of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 is not attracted.

Normally, the sad and shocking contents of written blog are enough for the police to lodge an FIR. The writ of Lalita Kumari is all for registration of an FIR with its full vehemence, in case, the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence. As disclosed, the content of the blog surely exposes a cognizable offence. Lalita Kumari, through one of its directives has given a little space to the author of the judgement, none  other than Chief Justice of India to constitute a committee for a preliminary enquiry. What a strange coincidence, one little direction by himself has saved him and Indian Judiciary from a great embarrassment for the time being. I mean it, just for the time being.  Lalita Kumari permits preliminary inquiry in those cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution and reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay. As per the controlled narration appearing in the blog, the incident did happen sometime in the third week of December, 2013, so there occurs a delay of 11 months in reporting the offence.

Though it is inappropriate to comment this way, I must say that no blog in recent times may have undergone such media scan.  The every word of it is  subjected to legal scrutiny with all available aides of interpretative skills, intrinsic and all external aids of interpretation. Everyone, wanted to know who the Judge is. The Court corridors are full of rumours. The more inquisitive brothers have prepared a chart  showing those who retired since brutal Delhi  gang rape with convincing probabilities and possibilities. It gets dirty everyday and the image of wonderful and honest personalities who retired in the interregnum is left to the wildest imaginations of story tellers in the bar. It is now left to the conscience keepers and leaders of Indian Judiciary to end the climax.

Whoever it is, I am sure, there will be at least half a dozen judgments written by the Judge in controversy against sexual harassment in his ‘illustrious’ carrier, which will become handy for a Trial Magistrate to deal with. If there is any semblance of truth in the allegations, there cannot be any space for any kind  of immunity or privilege to the wrong doer. Since person accused of is retired, the  CJI and his team should only be bothered about the privilege and prestige of judiciary.

What If, the complainant sticks to her allegation?.  Country would see a former judge of Indian Supreme Court  appearing before the Magistrate and facing prosecution.  Surely, that day would be  regarded as the darkest  for Indian Judiciary. Be you ever so high, the law is always above you!.

Boris Paul is a practicing lawyer. He can be reached at advborispaul@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Be you ever so high, the law is always above you!

  1. Kolla Gangadhar

    In India Mighty persons are above law and law is not above them. Neo-Rich Feudals entered into Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, Bureaucracy, other corporate Sectors have been committing crimes of gang Rape, Murders, attempt to murders, loot of wealth of the Nation and share booty these have been called mighty forces. In the past Police used to be called as licenced criminals and Neo-Rich Feduals have been turned licenced criminals and they have been called MIGHTY FORCES ARE ABOVE AND LAW IS NOT ABOVE THEM. SUPREMACY OF LAW HAS BEEN LOST, DEMOCRACY, RULE OF LAW HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AND ANARCHY HAS BEEN PREVAILING. WHOM TO BLAME WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA 120 CRORE BLAME NEO-RICH FEUDALS ENTERED INTO EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATURE, JUDICIARY, BUREAUCRACY, OTHER CORPORATE SECTORS. NEO-RICH FEUDAL RULERS HAVE BEEN RUINERS. INTELLECTUALS OF INDIA MUST AWAKE AND ENLIGHTEN THE PEOPLE TO FIGHT FOR SECOND INDEPENDENCE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE THAT IS JUSTICE, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, POLITICAL THEN TRUE DEMOCRACY WILL BE ESTABLISHED AND ANARCHY WILL BE DESTROYED. TILL THEN THE PEOPLE OF WILL HAVE TO SUFFER AS NEO-RICH FEUDALS COMMIT ATROCITIES ON THE PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THEIR SLAVES. ” BE YOU EVER SO HIGH, THE LAW IS ALWAYS ABOVE YOU HAD LOST LONG BACK.” AS NEO-RICH FEUDALS HAVE BEEN ALWAYS ABOVE LAW AND LAW HAS NOT BEEN ABOVE THEM.

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  2. Asha Arun

    Sharing the same sentiments of the writer herein , I would like to point out that a girl/woman in such scenarios, would be in conflict with her mind and mental stature, more precisely, in a state of denial of sorts, and might in all probability, need a time frame for getting herself ready to fight the miscreants, esp when the accused are those in the higher echelons of life and society. And when there are such delays, taking cue of the case cited herein, the lacuna or delay in lodging a complaint should not be held as a cause to hamper the initiation of proceedings against any erring person however big or small. In this regard, I too wonder why the blog itself could not have been considered primafacie by the police for lodging an FIR .
    Being a woman myself, I truly wish the girl would stand up and stick to her statements, but as you said, if the statement is proved right, the judiciary would be facing the darkest hours . But I would like to add some more to your viewpoints. What if this pall of darkness and disgrace serve to illumine the pavements of women as a whole to some extent in the future? Which one is more important ..saving the face of judiciary for the sake of a fellow jurist who could stoop so down as to outrage the modesty of woman ; or safeguarding the rights, dignity and safety of women ?
    So Wake up judiciary and let this be a first of its kind case, set the wheels of law in motion to prove that the rule of law is applicable to one and all…… including those donning the cape of judiciary..

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  3. ABHIJITH S R

    if the allegation is , who ever it is he should be bring in front of the law and appropriate punishment should be given , without any delay

    Reply

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