Judge J.R. Aryan: by T. SHER SINGH
Sajjan Kumar Murder Trial Judge Sabotages The Proceedings
Ever heard of a murder trial beginning each day of its deliberations with a two-minute silence in memory of the victim?
For good reason.
Any lawyer, but particularly any judge, will tell you that it's a no-no. Why? Because it creates an appealable issue: if the accused is convicted, he can argue that the judge showed a bias and a pre-disposition, before he had even heard the case.
Then, why would District Judge J.R. Aryan, who is currently hearing the murder trial of Sajjan Kumar and five other accused in Delhi, issue new instructions yesterday - out of the blue, midway in the trial - that each morning, the trial is to resume only after two minutes of silence in memory of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms?
This the very day after the same judge was taken to task by the international media for asking silly questions during the murder trial over which he is presiding.
It could possibly guarantee Sajjan Kumar and his cohorts virtual immunity from punishment for years to come - and remember, 28 years have already gone by since the crimes.
If convicted, this latest shenanigan by the trial judge gives them an opening. Upon conviction, they can start an appeal process which could easily be dragged through several convoluted, complicated and agonizingly lengthy stages.
At worst, it'll postpone the ultimate reckoning by years and years - in India, it could be decades!
At best, an appeal court could overturn the convictions and order a new trial.
Imagine having a new trial on the 1984 crimes ... in 2022? 2032?
Will the witnesses be alive? The accused?
Here's the news report from yesterday, verbatim as published in India Today. Please note how the media in India still refers to the pogroms as "riots"! :
As one of the trials against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for his alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots nears its end, a city court has taken the unusual decision to hold a two-minute silence for the riot victims. District judge J.R. Aryan on Monday said a two-minute silence would be observed at the start of daily proceedings while the court hears the final arguments from both parties in the case.
"Hundreds of murders that took place during the riots were never investigated or tried. Before the hearing resumes in the case, maintain silence for two minutes. The description of the incidents given by the witnesses itself show how painful it was for them (victims)...," the judge said.
CBI prosecutor and senior advocate R.S. Cheema continued to present his final arguments in the case in which six Sikhs were allegedly killed in the Delhi Cantonment area in the riots that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Sajjan Kumar and five others are accused of having incited mobs during the riots. Cheema argued that the Delhi Police had fabricated and destroyed case records that could have served as evidence.
Earlier, he had told the court that the police had kept their eyes closed to the violence against Sikhs, registering only five FIRs despite receiving more than 150 complaints during the riots.
Cheema pointed to police records regarding prosecution witness Jagdish Kaur. The records show Kaur was examined by the police in 1985 and 1992, and she apparently refused to identify the accused as being on the scene. But Kaur insisted she had not been examined by the police at the time, a claim the CBI's probe backed up, Cheema said.
"Delhi Police fabricated the record and Jagdish Kaur had not deposed before them in 1985 and 1992. The two statements were wrong," Cheema said. He added that the CBI probe revealed Kaur had recorded a statement before the police in 1984 naming Sajjan Kumar, but this deposition had been destroyed from police records.
Cheema also read out from numerous prosecution witnesses who had deposed over the course of the trial.
[News report, courtesy: India Today]
April 3, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Ajaib Singh (London, England), April 03, 2012, 11:01 AM.
2 minutes of silence? 28 years too late, I'm afraid! We know what the final outcome will be in this sham of a trial Judge Aryan is conducting in Delhi - his vacuous and fatuous remarks make it all the more obvious. But we should turn all of this tamasha by the desis into an even firmer resolve to take our destiny into our hands.
2: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), April 03, 2012, 6:23 PM.
They've been silent for decades. Two minutes more of silence ...!