Senior advocate Radharao Gracias at the meeting convened by Citizens Initiative against Injustice to Justice, raised a very pertinent question about the functioning the courts in India an more particularly in Goa.
He ripped apart the complaint in the form of a report submitted by Principal Sessions Judge Utkarsh Bakre and read excerpts of the complaint.
He wondered whether the Principal Sessions Judge had given any instructions not to “hurriedly dispose off cases” as claimed by him in his report. “There is no need, no requirement and no scope for such instructions as there are rules in place governing the conduct of the judges,” he said and wondered whether any instructions were given by the judge in the first place.
“Were there any complaints or any instructions given earlier that indicate that Judge Desmond D’Costa disposes off cases ‘hurriedly’ and if so why are they not made public,” he asked.
He also dismissed the Principal Sessions Judge’s contention that material evidence was not taken into consideration while pronouncing the judgement by pointing out that the so called material evidence was a single confessional statement being used in all the cases.
He also pointed out that two other judges have acquitted Mahanand Naik in other murder cases. “Why no action is taken against them and why is Judge Desmond D’Costa singled out,” he asked while also asking why no appeal was filed against the order if it was erroneous.
Adv. Gracias also objected to the use of words “for reasons best known to him” by the Principal Sessions Judge in his report and argued that these words imply extraneous reasons for passing the judgement. “What could the judge stand to gain by acquitting a known pauper,” he wondered.
He also highlighted another lacuna by referring to the anticipatory bail granted by the same Principal Sessions Judge to an influential person accused of rape, namely John Fernandes. The anticipatory bail granted by the Principal Sessions Judge was overturned not only by the High Court but even the Supreme Court which noted that the bail should not have been granted in the first place.
“Who reports on the Principal Sessions Judge in such cases whereas he can complain on the lower judges through his reports even though no appeal is filed against cases decided by them,” he asked.