Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
In March, the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No. 2, at Phulbani had acquitted 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigaon police as their offense allegedly committed in 2007 could not be proved.
So also the Additional Sessions Judge holding Fast Track Court No.1 had acquitted 14 persons arrested in a 2008 case by G Udayagiri Police, as the prosecution could not establish the charges.
In yet another case, the First Track Court No.2 has on April 21 acquitted 7 persons arrested by Tikabali police against alleged offenses committed in 2008, as there were no evidence to prove them guilty.
Is the acquittal enough?
It is time to cogitate this question.
People of Kandhamal district are too simple and ignorant to estimate what damage they have been forced to suffer being accused under-trial.
But when they are adjudged not guilty, because the prosecution had no evidence against them, they deserve to be automatically compensated in cash for the damage they have financially, physically, mentally and socially suffered.
Steps in this regard in appropriate forums are essential.
When the police fails to prove the charges it levels against any citizen, the police officer responsible for loss of his freedom and imposition of under-trial stigma on him, must be punished for misuse of power in arresting the person, for having falsely implicated the person against whom there is no evidence or for suppression of evidence to help the accused escape punishment.
Orissa Assembly Standing Committee on Home Department, in its report to the House in the Budget Session, has come down heavily upon deliberate dereliction of duty marked in the police organization. As non-registration of FIR is an offense which the police is asked not to resort to, institution of false cases against any citizen by the police also must be viewed as an offense.
The acquitted accused must be compensated with appropriate amount of cash to be collected from police officer responsible for his suffering.
We need such a law.