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#India – The ‘Uncle Judge Syndrome’ shadow over Laxmanpur Bathe

A K Biswas, Mainstream weekly
“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of .” 1

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Articulating the deep sense of shock and anguish over the carnage executed by Ranvir Sena at village Laxamnpur Bathe in Bihar, President Dr K.R. Narayanan condemned it as “the national shame”. In the night of December 1, 1997, 58 Dalits—men, women and children—who included a four-month toddler, were murdered by the Ranvir Sena in cold blood without provocation. The Patna High Court Division Bench comprising Justices V.N. Sinha and A.K. Lal acquitted on October 9, 2013 all the 26 convicts, 16 of whom were awarded death and the rest sentenced to life term by the trial court. The acquittal has shaken the faith of confidence of the masses in the judiciary.

Commenting on the verdict, columnist Kuldip Nayar says: “An upper caste judge has released all the accused on the plea that there was no evidence. It is a travesty of justice………. If the High Court judge did not find any evidence, he could have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to work under its supervision to hold a fresh probe………. What has happened at Laxmanpur is the fate of Dalits all over the country. The equality before law, enshrined in the Constitution, is a farce.”2 The Bench shied away from adopting this course to punish the gulty of massacre.

Laxmanpur Bathe is not a solitary case. In three other cases of Dalit massacres, the Patna High Court in the recent past acquitted the convicts—all Ranvir Sena men—in quick succession, setting a vexing pattern. A tabular presentation (Table-1) of four cases of Dalit massacres at Miyapur, Nagri Bazar and Bathani-tola, besides Laxmanpur Bathe along with the murder of G. Krishnaiah, IAS (see p. 16) may help better appreciation of the pattern.

Convicts of serial 2, 3 and 4 of the table were acquitted by one and the same Bench of Justice V. N. Sinha and Justice Amresh Kumar Lal. The evidence of Miyapur, Nagribazar and Laxmanpur Bathe massacres were not reliable or could not be believed by the Division Bench.

About 200 Ranvir Sena on April 30, 1999 invaded the twin villages of Khagaribigha and Zahirbigha and gunned down 12 persons inclu-ding women belonging to the OBCs and maha-Dalits apparently to avenge the killing of 35 upper-caste men in Senari village of Jahanabad district. Additional District and Sessions Judge Sudarshan Kumar Rai acquitted nine accused of the massacre for lack of evidence.8

Part-II

Perjury of Corrupt Judge Pandits

’s history of administration of justice is not glorious. Justice and impartiality or fairness is alien to the Indian administrative culture. The ancient codes of sages and seers did not recognise everyone equal in the eye of law. Their codes provided solid foundations for discrimination, plaguing every department of human life. Caste-based discrimination and favouritism were Manu’s forte that flung into thousands of pieces. One of his diabolical codes, for instance, says: “Shaving the head is ordained as the punishment consisting in the loss of life-breath for a priest; but for the other classes, the punishment should be the actual loss of life. The king should never kill a priest, even one who persists in every sort of evil; he should banish such a man from the kingdom, unhurt and with all his wealth. There is no greater act of irreligion on earth than priest-killing; therefore, the king should not even conceive of killing that man.” (Chapter 8). This philosophy of discrimination runs through the ages to guide a section of judges.

Table-1
4

Native Law Officers or Judge Pandits:

Epitome of Corruption, Perjury

The East India Company involved Indians in the administration of justice. Regulation XII of 1793 empowered the Company to appoint Native Law Officers, both Hindus and Muslims. The former were called Pandit and latter Kazi. The Pandits in Bengal were fondly called Judge Pandits. The Regulation mandated appointment of men of “integrity and well-versed in the laws………to discharge their duty with uprightness.” They were employed for “the due administration of justice”. However their unrestrained depravity, misconduct, cupidity and wholesale corruption brought irredeemable disgrace soon pushing the authorities on back foot. None other than Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, who launched vigorous campaigns for social reforms in nineteenth century Bengal, had roundly condemned the personnel appointed for administration of justice.

In a Bengali tract, Vidyasagar says that “sometime back every district had a pandit well versed in scriptures to advise the courts for due adjudication of cases as per law. They were known as judge pandits of the courts. But these salaried men were extremely corrupt, greedy, perverse and unscrupulous.They advised the presiding judge of the courts in such manners as to serve and enhance their selfish ends only. In other words, the pandits were given to bribe and never followed the letter and spirit of scriptures in discharge of their duties. Though outstanding scholars in scriptures, the pandit advised the presiding judge of the court in favour of either of the parties whoever offered him the higher amount of bribes to win the case. Their unfettered perversity, misconduct and immoral behaviour so deeply embarassed the government that the Regulation itself was repealed, abolishing the office of judge pandit.”9 The perception of corruption, perjury, perversity etc. widely afflicting administration of justice seems to owe its origin to these native law officers. The judge pandits were mostly, if not entirely, Brahmans. There was no secular law then to enforce or administer. They interpreted shastras for guiding the courts.

An idea of the objectives and purposes of the Regulation XII of 1793 might be appreciated from the oaths the law officers took while joining the office.

“I will truly and faithfully execute the office of pundit of this court according to the best of my knowledge and ability; that I will answer all questions that may be put to me in writing or orally by the said court; that I will declare or give in writing what is in the Shaster; that I will not declare or give in writing what is not warranted by the Shaster…………..”

Regulation XII of 1793 aimed rule by shastras or scriptures. The oath further reads:

“I promise and swear that I will not receive, directly or indirectly, any present, nuzzur, in money or effects of any kind, from any party or persons whosoever, on account of any suit to be instituted, or which may be depending, or have been decided in the court of which I am pundit, and that I will not, directly or indirectly, derive any advantage or emolument from my office, excepting such as the orders of the govern-ment do or may authorise me to receive.”10

The Regulation provided for “punishment” of pundit by “Iswur” for misconduct, which shows how overwhelmingly the Company was enamoured! No public authorities ever on earth abdicated their powers favouring the divine authorities to discipline and punish its personnel for misconduct, corruption, perjury, moral terpitude, etc. The Company’s whole approach was aimed to appease the priestly class by following blindly the footprints of the obscurantist Manu and others. Clearly the judge pandits went berserk and indulged in extensive prevarication, perjury, falsification etc. They nonchalantly worked against their oaths. A few cases would not have enraged Vidyasagr to demonise the judge pandits en masse. Vidyasagar, most strikingly, did not raise his accusing finger to the Kazis of the courts. In his early youth, we may note in passing, Iswar Chandra was offered a post of Hindu law officer at Comilla in East Bengal, [now Bangladesh], far away from his home. His father strongly objected to his joining the post. Vidyasagar obeyed him.

The trenchant criticism above suggests that justice was never even-handed and fair. Corruption reigned supreme and rigged the proceedings of the courts aided by the pandits. Since the pandits interpreted shastras for the courts, the lower social orders were always at the rick of being victimised out of prejudice the pandit imbued from scriptures. Judicial profligacy is not new nor injustice unknown to India.

Part-III
Court and brothel comparable.11

—Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1892)

In the nineteenth century, the colonial rulers had a system of jury to help and aid the courts in several parts of India including Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies besides the North-Western Province and Oudh. In 1891, they undertook wide ranging consultations to ascertain whether the jury system had succeeded in repression of crimes and served the causes of justice. One of the prominent Indians, Ramesh Chandra Dutt, ICS and District Magistrate of Burdwan, wrote: “…….in Burdwan the jury system has worked in a manner most detrimental to the interest of justice and also to repression of crimes.”12 A batchmate of Sir Surendra Nath Banerjea in ICS (1869), a fellow Bengali, Dutt was a historian and novelist of the Victorian era. Note how strongly he disapproved the system of jury, saying it was “most detrimental to the interest of justice”.

We may try to find out why and how the jury system degenerated and became detrimental to the interest of justice. We begin with Bihar under jury in the nineteenth century to have an overview. In a word, the jury system was a deplorable failure for reasons detailed officially below. The Commissioner, Patna Division, W. Kemble, reported to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bengal (Letter no. 589-G, dated 24 September 1890), underscoring the reasons why the jury system was a lamentable failure.

“The system markedly fails in cases of great importance, such as those in which a man of high caste commits any crime, in cases of murder where there is possibility of a capital sentence being passed, and in cases of forgery or cognate offences where the accused holds a respectable position in society. The juror who would convict a fellow-countryman in such cases as these would be a bold man.” Having laid his finger to the right spot, the Commissioner quoted the District Magistrate, Patna.

“The Patna Magistrate thinks that deliberate atempts are made in all cases to bribe the jury…….

“The principal causes which militate against the efficiency of the system are: Caste and religious prejudices, which lead to actual sympathy with some crimes.”13

So the evils that undermined or eroded fair and impartial justice were: (1) high caste; (2) caste prejudice; (3) religious prejudice; (4) respectable position; and (5) bribe. While caste bestowed immunity on some privileged few, others, accursed, in the lower social hierarchy suffered for the same reason. Nobody in the right frame of mind would now claim that these evils have ceased to survive or operate or be relevant in the administration of justice in post-independent India, not to speak of Bihar. Caste carries a premium even now.

H. G. Cooke, District Magistrate, Hooghly, told the Commissioner of the Burdwan Division, (Letter no. 1276 dated August 9-11, 1890) how and who rigged and molested the system to their advantage:

“There is a reluctance on the part of the native juryman to convict where there is any possibility of of a capital sentence; but I believe this reluctance is not extended uniformly in all cases; and it is not connected, save in rare cases, with any descency about taking human life as such. There is not one year, in the period under consideration, in which a Hooghly jury has not convicted under section 302 IPC; but I venture to say that in none of these cases was the accused a Brahman, or even a member of that ill-defined class who are styled as ‘bhadro’ or respectable. I feel confident that the fate of a Mussulman or low class Hindu exteris paribus would not be the same at the hands of a jury as that of a ‘bhadro’; and that notably the Brahman would enjoy a certainty of acquittal ……. I believe the same feeling would influence the jury in a case of rape, perjury, forgery or burglary in which a ‘bhadro’ was concerned.”14 Only three Bengali castes, to recall social history, are ‘bhadro’—Brahman, Baidya and Kayasth. Bhadrolok is not synomynous with respectable or gentle man, it denotes merely a certain caste in the upper echelon. Despite such blind favour showered by the jury on the three castes, however, the census report of 1911 makes startling disclosures: “The number of Mussal-man and Hindu convicts in Bengal is almost exactly proportionate to their strength in the population and it cannot be said that either community has a particular propensity to crime. The largest number of Hindu criminals are Kayasthas and Brahmans.” The Kayasthas represented seven and Brahmans four criminals per 10,000 population respectively serving jail sentences in 1911.15

The Hooghly District Magistrate marshalled instance of blind prejudice of the jury. “One Khan Chand Boid, who shot a brother constable dead from pique, because his victim, a low-caste man, had thrown him in a wrestle. This man was acquitted by a jury, because he was a Brahmin—that fact having been urged in his defence by his pleader. The High Court transported him for life.”16 The pervert mindset of the jury is thus a record of history. A fanatic jury!!

Another authority who had earlier served as the Patna District and Sessions Judge recalled his experience. He urged that “a careful exami-nation would be invaluable and would throw light on many complex questions at present untouched, e. g., the class of jurors whose verdicts are most frequently found open to objection, the prevalence of such cases in greater or lesser degree in any particular district, and the extent to which Brahmin criminals obtained immunity than others of the lower castes.” This was T. D. Brighton, District and Sessions Judge, Dacca to report his experience to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bengal.17 Long after a century even now ‘many complex’ and unexplained questions need to be examined.

“Native jurors are essentially, by habit of mind, ancient custom and race prejudice, unfitted for pronouncing a just and true verdict where a capital sentence may be the penalty…….. One illustration of a verdict, which can only be accounted for considerations, may be given here. It occured in the district of Patna during my incumbency. A Brahmin sepoy, in one of the Bengal Native Infantry regiments, ran ‘amuck’, shot several of his comrades, barricaded himseslf in a hut in the centre of the Native Infantry lines with his rifle and several rounds of ammunition, and threatened death to anyone. He was finally seized by an English officer who crept into the hut from behind. The murders had been committed in the sight of nearly the whole regiment, and a number of eye witnesses were examined. The accused had literally no defence, but on a single plea of not guilty in the Sessions Court the jury acquitted him.”18 Caste was a very invincible shield to derive mileage in heinuous crimes. This was the spirit of the creed and codes Manu had enunciated. The British had the unique advantage of speaking out their minds without inhibition, which is anathema in contemporary India.

Religion and Caste Prejudice in Courts

In a Minute, dated January 16, 1891, Justice Ameer Ali of Calcutta High Court said: “In case of homicide, even when the crime is of atrocious character, Indian jurors are notorously averse to bringing in a verdict which would subject the accused to capital punishment. In other cases, e. g., dacoity, rape, etc. race-feelings and popular prejudices, besides other influences, play a great part. In certain districts popular prejudice and race-feelings have, owing to a variety of circumstances, lately become more accentuated with the result that gross miscarriage of justice has often been occasioned by trials of juries.”19

If the Calcutta High Court Judge was circumspect, the Sessions Judge of Hyderabad in Sind was totally explicit and frank. In his letter to Judicial Commssioner in Sind: (No. 3, of November 28, 1892), he says: “…………there is in Sind a considerable degree of animosity between Hindus and Mahomedans. Hindu would not consent to being tried by a Mahomedan jury; no Mahomedan would expect justice from a Hindu jury.”20 Animosity between the two dominant communities has a long history.

From Benares, J. White, District Magistrate, Benares, a letter bearing no. 4/XVII-29 dated July 10, 1890 to the Secretary, Government of North-Western Provinces and Oudh, disclosed:

(1) “Jury system is not admired by and appreciated by the people generally, and service of juries is intensely unpopular;

(2) juries are averse to finding verdicts of guilty against wealthy or influential or high caste criminals; and

(3) juries are very ready to find verdicts of guilty against low caste men………….”21

The real implication and ramification of “popular prejudice and race-feelings” were laid bare by the foreign bureaucracy unto its rockbottom leaving nothing to guess. I have in my collection a notification published in The Calcutta Gazette of 1859 of approximately 1500 jurymen of the Supreme Court, who were exclusively upper-caste Hindus and British/European jurymen.22

Part-IV
“Please ponder how you can come up to the expectation of the people of the country.”23

In his valedictory address to the sesquennial centenary celebrations of the Calcutta High Court, an alarmed President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, called upon the judiciary to fulfil “the expectations of the people”. There exists and persists a wide gap between the expectations of the people and the perfornances of the judiciary to which the President of India invited attention of the higher judiciary and countrymen. There is no dispute that caste plays a decisive role even now. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the expectations of Dalits and tribals lay shattered. The victims of massacres carried out by the Ranvir Sena at Laxmanpur Bathe, Bathanitola, Nagri Bazar, and Miyapur cry in wilderness for justice. Their concerns have not been addressed by the judiciary. The insult and humiliation of the victims have been multiplied manifold by the Patna High Court, which acquitted their butchers. The murder of the Gopalganj District Magistrate, G. Krishnaiah, a Dalit, also falls in this category. The nation has to examine whether “the uncle judge syndrome”, famously coined by the Supreme Court Division Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha, is confined to the Allahabad High Court or it has plagued the country’s other High Courts as well. Immunity to the Ranvir Sena men in one after another case of massacre of Dalits by a particular Bench raises burning questions. The beneficiaries of the acquittals, mostly, if not entirely, are the Bhumihars. This merits deeper examination by higher and competent authorities as justice has been rendered ‘a farce’.

Murder of G. Krishnaiah, IAS

G. Krishnaiah, a Dalit IAS officer and the District Magistrate, Gopalganj in Bihar, was murdered on a National Highway in the outskirts of Muzaffarpur in December 5, 1994 while returning to his head-quarters, after attending an official meeting at Hajipur, near Patna. On the previous night a gangster, Chhotan Shukla, was murdered at Muzaffarpur by a rival gang. On October 3, 2007, after long 13 years, a Patna trial court sentenced former MP Anand Mohan and two other politi-cians, former MLA Akhlaq Ahmad and Arun Kumar Singh, to death for the murder of Krishnaiah. Anand Mohan’s wife, Lovely, also a former MP, and three leaders of the ruling JD (U)—MLA Vijay Kumar Shukla aka Munna Shukla, Harendra Kumar and Sashi Shekhar Thakur—were awarded life terms.24 Within a year a Division Bench, comprising Justices Shiv Kirti Singh and S M Mafooz Alam, acquitted Lovely Anand, former Minister Akhlaq Ahmed, former MLA Arun Kumar, MLA (JD-U) from Lalganj Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla, Shashi Shekhar and Harendra Kumar. Anand Mohan’s death sentence was converted into a life sentence.25

What investigative Tehelka reported was disturbing. According to it, Anand Mohan, once a member of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), “had reportedly played a critical role in the formation of the NDA Government in November 2005, bringing together the Bhumihars and the Rajputs, the State’s most influential land-owning castes. He and Nitish have remained friends and were supposed to have been in regular touch. Although Nitish now finds it next to impossible to defend Mohan even indirectly, former JD(U) chief George Fernandes met (Anand) Mohan at the Beur Central Jail on October 8 and openly supported him. The ex-Defence Minister reached Beur Jail in a 40-strong motorcade and later described the charges against Mohan as “baseless”.

In case of the murder of Krishnaiah, those convicted along with Mohan and Lovely included JD(U) leaders Harendra Kumar, Shashi Thakur, Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla and Arun Kumar Singh besides the former MLA from Bikramganj, Akhlaq Ahmed. Both Ahmed and RJD leader Arun Kumar were awarded death sentences. Munna Shukla is a sitting JD(U) MLA from Lalganj. Mohan was the leader of the now-defunct Bihar People’s Party (BPP) at the time of Krishnaiah’s murder. Lovely is a former MP from Vaishali.

The conflict of interest was prominent and known very well perhaps to everyone in Bihar. Pertinently we may refer to the murder of another ill-fated District Collector and Magis-trate of Gopalganj, Maheshwar Prasad Narain Sharma, to highlight the contrast. He was killed on April 11, 1983 in a bomb attack. Sadanand Tripathi alias Sant Gayaneshwar and his disciple Paramhans Yadav were conspirators in the murder. A bomb was thrown at the victim in his own office at Gopalganj Collectorate resulting in his death. A Division Bench of Justices P.S. Sahay, M.P. Varma, Patna High Court, confirmed the death sentence awarded by the trial court.26 Paramhans Yadav was hanged in 1988.

Frederick Douglass (c.February 1818-February 20, 1895), an outstanding anti-slavery activist and thinker, said: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” We can ill-afford to disagree that denial of justice is an organised conspiracy in India for perpetua-ting oppression, robbery and degradation of the lower castes, tribals and minorities and backward classes.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar drove the point most tellingly: “From the Capital of India to the village the whole administration is rigged by the Hindus. The Hindus are the life of the omnipotent almighty pervading all over the administartion in all its branches having its authority in all its nooks and corners. There is no loophole for anyone opposed to the old order to escape. If the old order has continued to exist, it is because of the unfailing support it received from the Hindu officials of the state. The Hindu officials are not merely administrators, administering the affairs on the merit, they are administrators with an eye to their parties. Their principle is not equal justice to all. Their motto is justice consistent with established order. This is inevitable. For they carry over into adminis-tration, the attitude towards different classes in the society under the established order.

“This is well illustrated by the attitude of the state officials towards the untouchables in the field of administration. As every untouchable will be able to testify, if an untouchable goes to a police officer with complaint against the caste Hindu, instead of receiving any protection he will receive plenty of abuses. Either he will be driven away without his complaint being recorded, or, if it is recorded it would be recorded quite falsely to provide a way to escape to the touchable aggressors. If he prosecutes the offender before a magistrate, the fate of his proceeding could be foretold. The untouchable will never be able to get Hindus as witness because of the conspiracy of the villagers not to support the case of the untouchables however just it may be. If he brings witness from the untouchables, the magistrate will not accept their testimony because he can easily say that they are interested and not independent witness, or, if they are independent witness, the magistrate has a easy way of acquitting the accused by simply saying that that the untouchable’s complaint did not strike as a truthful witness. He can do this fearlessly knowing full well that the higher tribunal will not reverse his finding because of the well-established rule which says that an appellate court should not disturb the findings of the trial magistrate based on the testimony of the witness whose demeanour he has no opportunity to observe.”

What Dr Ambedkar said prophetically seven decades ago is relevant in letter and spirit today across India. In the massacre under reference, the higher tribunals have overturned the verdicts of the trial courts one after another. To prevent and eliminate the plague is a national reponsibility as well as national concern. To ensure social peace and economic prosperity, the conspiracy to perpetuate injustice through the judicial process must end. But the nation has been watching judicial perversion and profligacy over tribals and Dalits helplessly and its intellectual class does not venture to expose the nexus. “It is the responsibility of intellectual,” says Noam Chomsky, “to speak the truth and to expose the lies.”27 Rarely India’s intelectual class voice the grievances of the tribals and Dalits to expose lies and nexus at the risk of undermining the interest of their respective castes. For a Hindu, his caste is the greatest power for bonding than religion.

In an editorial, the DNA, a Mumbai daily, the commented on the Patna High Court’s acquittals of the Ranvir Sena butchers: “Nemo judex in causa sua. Let no man be a judge in his own case; in essence, no legal decision should be influenced by any interest or bias. When seen from a broader perspective, those biases become regrettably clear.”28 If the butchers had earned their acqutittals what the DNA says by clear biases, it is a serious issue. The conflict of interest in providing justice to Dalits is a major hurdle.

Commentators of a local Hindi daily after a local visit wrote their story under the caption, Hindi29 (“Bhumihar” Nitish Kumar ki kripa se bedag ho gaye Laxmanpur Bathe ke hatyare). Translated it says roughly, Bhumihar Nitish Kumar has blessed the murderers of Laxmanpur Bathe to escape spotlessly. This perhaps sums up the perception of the common man while underlining the conflict of interest in administration of justice without bias. Leaders and workers of various political parties had the involvement in the miscarriage of justice for the murder of Gopalganj District Magistrate in broad daylight. Social and political interests have, without doubt, largely impeded delivery of justice in every case under consideration.

We find that caste, uncle judges and their fondness and affection for nephews and nieces, bribes or corruption and governance by coalition in the political system too are antagonistic to the delivery of even handed justice to the Dalits. Dominant castes exert undue influences over judicial proceedings to their advantage. If deplo-rable condititions afflicting the administration of justice for Dalits and tribals are not corrected and the rot not arrested with promptitude; and if justice continues to elude the victims of massacres, as in the given cases, they might be pushed to voice demands for trials on line with the trial of the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, by judges belonging to the community of the victims themselves or judges of their confidence. Chief Justice Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman presided over the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal’s Al-Dujail trial of Saddam Hussein. His “trial and conviction was mostly welcomed by the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds who suffered under his rule, but it has angered Sunni Muslims……..”.30 In one of the dictator’s “most brutal acts, he rained poison gas on the northern Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988, killing an estimated 5000 of his own citizens suspected of being disloyal and wounding 10,000 more”.31 Who else than a judge from the community of victims could have handed down a capital sentence for Saddam Hussein?

Footnotes

1. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), Supreme Court, USA

2. Kuldip Nayar, “Signs of Fundamentalism”, The Statesman, Calcutta, October 24, 2013.

3. The Times of India, April 17, 2012.

4. The Telegraph, Calcutta, July 4, 2013.

5. The Telegraph, Calcutta, March 2, 2013.

6. The Hindu, October 9, 2013.

7. The Economic Times, December 10, 2008.

8. Input from Abdul Qadir, The Times of India reporter, Gaya.

9. Vidyasagar’s above observation in Bengali is a free translation by the author.

10. Provision of the Regulation has been quoted without altering the spellings as Shaster for shastra and Ishwur for Ishwar.

11. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, “adalat ebom barangarar mandir tulya”,Miscellaneous Essays, 1892. One of the three Bacheors of Arts of the first batch of BA Examinations of Calcutta University held in 1859, he was appointed the Deputy Magistrate by the Bengal Government. But his laurels rest on his composition of ‘Bande mataram’ and the commendable mass of the literary works. He was Vidyasagar’s contemporary.

12. Report on the System of Trial by Jury in Courts of Sessions in Mofassal during the year 1890-1897, Calcutta, Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing Press, 1899, p. 77.

13. Ibid., pp. 72-73.

14. Ibid., pp. 79-82.

15. Census of India 1911, Vol. V, Report Part-I, p. 555.

16. Report on The System of Trial by Jury in Courts of Sessions in Mofassal during the year 1890-1897.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., p. 80.

19. Ibid., p. 104.

20. Ibid., p. 202.

21. Ibid., p. 107.

22. Juries of the Supreme Court, The Calcutta Gazette, Wednesday, June 8, 1859.

23. The Statesman, Calcutta, May 5, 2013

24. Indian Express, October 9, 2007

25. PTI December 10, 2008.

26. 1987 (35) BLJR 127.

27. The New York Review of Books, A Special Supplement: “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, Noam Chomsky, February 23, 1967.

28. DNA editorial, ‘Justice delayed and denied’, Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

29. Nawal and Udayan in Apna Bihar. This is a web magazine.

30. Marc Santora, James Glenz and Sabrina Tevernise, The New York Times, December 30, 2006.

31. Neil MacFarquhar, The New York Times, December 30, 2006.

The author is a former Vice-Chancellor, B.R. Ambedkar University, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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