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'We're Also Human Beings' : Bombay HC Judge Withdraws Oral Praise For Late Father Stan Swamy After NIA Objection

Sharmeen Hakim
23 July 2021 7:26 AM GMT
Were Also Human Beings : Bombay HC Judge Withdraws Oral Praise For Late Father Stan Swamy After NIA Objection
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Justice SS Shinde, judge of the Bombay High Court on Friday withdrew his oral statements in praise of late tribal rights activist -Father Stan Swamy and his work - after the National Investigation Agency raised objections to the same during hearing of Stan's bail plea, being heard posthumously. Justice SS Shinde, however, said that even judges are human beings and the news of...

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Justice SS Shinde, judge of the Bombay High Court on Friday withdrew his oral statements in praise of late tribal rights activist -Father Stan Swamy and his work - after the National Investigation Agency raised objections to the same during hearing of Stan's bail plea, being heard posthumously.

Justice SS Shinde, however, said that even judges are human beings and the news of Father Swamy's death on July 5 was sudden. Moreover, the court had added a rider that it wasn't making any comment on Father Swamy's incarceration or arrest under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

"I had said, so far as legal issues are concerned, that is different. Suppose you are hurt that I personally said something, I take those words back. Our endeavour is always to be balanced. We have never made comments... But you see Mr Singh, we are also human beings and something suddenly happens like this.."

Father Swamy was the last and oldest person to be arrested in the Bhima Koregaon - Elgar Parishad case in October, 2020, and passed away ahead of his bail hearing on July 5.

Last week, Justice Shinde said he had watched Father Swamy's graceful funeral and considering the kind of services he had rendered to society, he had respect for his work.

On Friday, the court was hearing Father Swamy's bail applications wherein his counsel Senior Advocate Mihir Desai was seeking certain reliefs pertaining to the mandatory judicial inquiry to be held into Father Swamy's death under section 176(1A) of the CrPC.

During the hearing NIA said the bail applications could not be kept pending any longer considering the bar under section 394 of the CrPC, despite the fact that they were agreeable to most requests.

Desai however submitted that the court may keep the matter pending so that the inquiry report could be placed before the bench. His other prayers were to allow ex- St Xaviers College Principal Father Frazer Mascarenhas to join the inquiry as next of kin, the enquiry be done in accordance with NHRC guidelines and by a magistrate from Mumbai.

"We are not saying decide the bail applications but the high court has supervisory powers for the purpose of ensuring complete justice is done. The concept of parens patriae would apply. The High Court would become the parens patriae in all such cases," he said giving the example of nurse Aruna Shanbaug, whose vegetative life and death triggered the euthanasia debate in India.

The bench observed that if the matter was disposed of these requests would not arise, they therefore asked Desai to submit short written submissions.

Just as the court was about to adjourn the matter ASG Anil Singh said he wanted to say that everyone has condoled Father Stan Swamy's death. But any private comment or view.... Any personal comment coming from the judges... in an investigation ... is being twisted by the media.

Justice Shinde then said that if Singh was hurt by its last week's comments, they withdraw the statement and adjourned the case of August 4, 2021.


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