Maxims of (in-)Justice


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OF LIES – LIARS – and the indian police disSERVICE

It is to the discredit of every honorable Criminal Justice professional that, thanks to the uniform desecrating vermin on the Force, a confession made to a police officer is not admissible in court!

This precept, at least on paper, is accurately reflective of widespread public opinion synthesized thru’ one’s general interaction with the law, formal attestations from experts and research scholars, and with people who administer and enforce laws; that they are corrupt liars and cannot be trusted! Unfortunately, this view, for the most part factual, is unfairly demoralizing to the devoted few who’ve striven to maintain an unsullied respect and pride in their Uniform (often despite overwhelming political and peer pressure, and sly, coercive sanctions).

O.K., so confession made to a cop is not admissible in court, [Now check out this play on words:] BUT ” if a statement is given by an accused to a police officer while in custody and that statement reveals the discovery of any material fact and in consequence of that statement if that material fact is discovered, that statement is admissible to the extent of such discovery. it can be used in evidence of the thing recovered as a result of the confession made to a police officer by the accused.” [ Section 27 of the Evidence Act.] Thus if a weapon used in a number of cases is recovered by the police (or, more commonly, planted by them) as a result of a “confession” made by an accused person, the recovery is a relevant piece of evidence. [ State of U. P. V Deoman Upadhyaya AIR 1960 SC 1125.]

In other words, evidence recovered pursuant to a suppressed, rejected testimony that, by law, has no legal worth in the first place, is acceptable!

The Constitution mandates no person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself and no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane, or degrading punishment or treatment … sounds good so far? (That’s ‘cos it’s meant to!). So how do the Indian Police succeed in surmounting overwhelming odds and statutory restrictions, circumvent the Accused’s constitutional right against self incrimination using no coercion or forceful methods … and bring forth cognizable, damning evidence in a surprisingly short period of time? Amazing? Houdini would have been put to shame! Exemplary police work? More appropriately, “example setting” work. Exceptional forensic/medico-legal investigative skills? Perhaps in exceptional cases, only IF you could get a Desi Street Cop to correctly pronounce that phrase (then forthrightly explain it)!

Fact of the matter is, most crimes are accepted for prosecution NOT on the legal merits of the evidence obtained but on the merits of the evidence FABRICATED and creative procedures employed to dress up an acceptable spit shine. A boilerplate “Voluntary Confessional Statement” is drawn up from an appropriate Template at the Police Station. The Accused Person doesn’t even need to be present (usually, he’s already in the Slammer, or “Judicial Custody”, if politely put). Two “Impartial” Citizen-Witnesses (on the Police’s regular “under-the-table” employ) formally attest that the Statement was made voluntarily by the Accused who led the Police to affect recovery of the incriminating (planted) evidence, thereby making the Confession legally admissible in court: A convenient “Open and Shut Case”! “Incredulous”, you say? Hell, No. This is typical!

Excuse me for a moment while I puke!

Judges are not dumb. They know what went on behind the scenes; it is almost obvious to all! Not in as many words, the Honorable Bench seems to convey, “Don’t insult my intelligence with a prosaic, run-of-the-mill lie that even a fourth-grader would have a hard time believing! Make it a GOOD LIE, even a half-way credible lie … something with MEAT … something to sink my teeth into or fall back upon when I make a slanted decision on shaky grounds”.

And, perchance, IF some young, impressionable, starry-eyed lawyer backs the cop and his hired witnesses into a corner exposing them as liars, there is hardly even a whimper for corrupting a judicial proceeding. Whereas all overseas jurisdictions see prosecutorial perjury as tantamount to publicly dick-sapping the judge, our learned magistrates seem to have developed shameless toleration, nay, IMMUNITY to such insults flung routinely toward the bench; most have likely forgotten what Justice stands for and why the term “Your HONOR” is (was?) exclusively reserved for judges. It is thanks to the Worthy Few in Black Robes that the rest scavenge for privileges and flaunt in their shade.

Since the provisions of the Evidence Act, for good reasons, clearly maligns the police, viz. THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED UPON to truthfully present testimony, where’s the logic then in attributing legal worth to evidence recovered pursuant to an unconstitutional, self-incriminating, “Voluntary Confessional Statement” unilaterally authored by the Police which, per the Evidence Code, has a prima facie worth commensurate with fiction anyway, as it was more than likely concocted, or Ex-Pârté, or made under duress, or in a language totally alien to the Accused illiterate. Or “all the above”! What became of the fundamental Maxim of Justice, “The fruit of a poisonous tree is poisonous”? Or, has it become by Judicial decree, “partially poisonous” (as in being “partially pregnant”).

 

There are those who argue that nowhere else is the adage “Justice is Blind” more true than in our own beloved Bharat. Justice may appear selectively blind when discriminating and perspicacious, but it certainly is not deaf! It has been known to lend a practiced ear to the “Ka-Chung” in your pockets and the melodious shuffling of currency in your bank account. See Transparency International Policy Position # 4 / 2007 and Link:

http://ww1.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2002/dnld/south_asia_report.pdf

To quote, “Judicial salaries that are too low to attract qualified legal personnel or retain them, and that do not enable judges and court staff to support their families in a secure environment, ….. judges are more susceptible to corruption. They may accept bribes when offered and, when left unchecked, may be more likely to extort bribes from vulnerable court users to supplement their incomes”.

To crooked judges reading that opinion (proffered by a responsible source!), it could serve as reliable justification to continue to “supplement their income” through bribes, (since, what the heck! It’s common knowledge, anyway)! In our country where avarice and greed take precedence even over the Deity, it is really immaterial that the income of the overwhelming masses who approach the bench seeking justice, is far below the official salary (excluding benefits) of the menacing Tribunal telepathically (tele-pathetically?) burning a hole in your pockets. Couple that with the assessment of a respected Chief Justice on the possibility of 20 per cent of the judiciary being corrupt, thanks to an absence of an effective disciplinary mechanism, we reach a disheartening conclusion. [See Link: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/02/22/stories/2002022200031000.htm].

I have witnessed many proceedings during which acts of travesty stood validated and legalized by informal judicial decree, witnessed to by a horde of impotent lawyers dumbstruck as though paralyzed by the proverbial judicial phallus stuck up their derriere. What ensues is a blatant, intellectually degrading, rhetorical “sleight-of-hands” by the Tryer of Fact regardless of whether he/she is empowered by law to do so; public mockery that’s tangential to reason, logic, rationale, fair play; all one expects from a learned person of Honor, particularly the Judge. Evidence can never originate from a fictional source that does not exist! Except in India …and only when the Judge says so!

But let’s “think outside the Box” for a moment: were it not this way, our Criminal Justice System would be just another lackluster service-oriented government Department instead of what it is in reality today: The most lucrative, government-supported monopoly promising guaranteed returns and perpetual profits.

In a court system such as ours, where trial by jury has been substituted by Trial by Judge, no one dares challenge His Divine Honor’s “Supreme”, “Apodictic” ruling – and the matter becomes yet another whimsically created legal precedent…. Unless one has the resources and tenacity to proceed on to the risky appellate level. Nevertheless, a sizable majority of court patrons would rather not be tried by a jury of their peers. It’s just a “numbers thing” and commonsense economics. Rather than endeavor bribing twelve people on the Stand, wouldn’t you prefer dealing with just one? [By the way, did’ja ever wonder if they actually have to strip for the judge to observe it’s a “Hung Jury”? Just a thought …]

Prudence usually dissuades one from pursuing the Mandamus route and having to reappear before a thoroughly pissed-off judge. Consequently, as a charitable display of some notional sensitivity toward the underdog, certain time-honored principles of Indian jurisprudence have been discretely omitted from the bestselling collection of nursery rhymes for aspiring little toddler jurists, “MAXIMS OF JUSTICE AND OTHER BEDTIME FABLES”, like f’rinstance, Don’t piss-off the Judge. Piss on the Defendant”, “Give ‘em a fair trial; then hang ’em“, “How to maintain a discrete, profitable understanding with the commission agents: The Cops”, “Dissension is our business, and business is good”……….

© Copyright 2010 – Carlisle Collins – All Rights Reserved

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