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Encounter with Establishment
|by Ganganand Jha|
A personal account
I was a lecturer in a college of the town for the last fourteen years. Our town had earned the status of district headquarters just a few years back. Various government departments were still in the process of coming into existence. Residential quarters of officers had not been built as yet. So, most of the functionaries were residing in private accommodations in mohallas of the town. The post of District judge was not created up till now. The chief judicial magistrate (CJM) was the highest functionary of the local judicial set up.
One morning as I was getting ready for my college, my son, aged fourteen years, asked me whether I knew a judicial magistrate in the mohalla. I did not know about any government functionary residing in our locality. I wanted to know the reason of his query. he told me that a magistrate residing in the neighborhood had abused him. The story seemed to be queer. So I decided to check with the man. As we reached his residence, I saw two persons sitting in the outer room. My son pointed at one of the two persons. We entered the room after duly seeking permission; then I asked whether my son had done something wrong. To my surprise, the man the man lost temper and began speaking in intemperate language. I was at a loss to understand the provocation for his ungentlemanly behavior. He threatened me with arrest. I told him that I was ready to face whatever he would do. Some person walking by had assembled there on hearing commotion. I felt embarrassed and hurriedly left the place along with my son. Subsequently for both of us it was business as usual. I went to my college and my son to his school.
In the evening we assembled at our colleague’s residence as planned. He informed us that the CJM had called him at his own initiative and had enquired about my credentials. He informed him that all the local judicial officers had joined the said magistrate in lodging complaint against me and pressing him to issue an arrest warrant against me immediately. (Later I learnt that the judicial officer concerned had told his colleagues that I had threatened to get him assaulted by our students.) Under the circumstances he was obliged to take cognizance but he had deferred issuing arrest warrant for the time being. My colleague was told about the contents of the complaint. The complainant was orderly peon. It was mentioned that as he was sitting at the gate of the residence of the said magistrate and the magistrate was busy writing his official papers, I forcibly entered the room and started shouting at the Officer, thus interfered in his discharge of government duties.
Thereafter neither warrant of arrest nor summon was served on me. But the case was not dropped. It was put up for a date in the next month. I was advised to seek negotiated settlement. But I stuck to my position of the case being withdrawn unilaterally without my involvement. My understanding was that they wanted to harass me and that I had to defeat them by appearing to be unmoved. My strength was in the knowledge that higher judiciary keeps a very strong watch on the conduct of its judicial officers and any complaint against them is pursued in all seriousness. So I had thought that I would approach the District judge at the old district headquarters as a last resort. Months passed by. I did not enter the court premises even once, no summon was issued, but the case lingered on being put off each month for a new date. I learnt a painful lesson and earned a revealing experience. Had I opted to contest the case, no legal assistance would have been available to me even though I had many self-proclaimed well-wishers and friends in the local bar.
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