Update on Abdul Nasser Madani from Adv. Venkatesh Bubberjung of Bangalore

Abdul Nasser Madani is a Muslim political leader from Kerala, India. He has spent more than a decade in Indian prisons without being convicted of any crime. He started the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the stated objective of “Muslim-Dalit-backward caste” alliance. In August 2010, Madani was arrested by Karnataka police for his alleged involvement in the Bangalore Serial blasts and is currently lodged under judicial custody. Here is the Justice for Madani official website.

Here’s an excerpt from a facebook note from Advocate Venkatesh Bubberjung of Bangalore.

[…] Bangalore Blast case ( a series of 9 chargesheets filed against some 30+ accused mostly malayalam speaking including Abdul Naser Madani as they are referred to ) was posted today for orders on the applications on discharge, on orders on hearing before charge, on consideration of bail applications of some of the accused in Bangalore Central Prison.

Hearing of applications and charge is going on for couple of months before the Court. The hearing of the case was demonstrating number chinks in the armour of the story of prosecution. The advocates for Madani and other accused had explained in detail for days on the aspects of law violated in prosecuting them and poor quality of evidence that is available or framed against them. As the hearing on the applications gained momentum, the accused persons who were housed in Bangalore Central Prison were suddenly transferred to Belgaum Prison without any information as to why they were being transferred. When enquired even court had no proper information to give ( accused are in judicial custody ). When the counsels insisted for the presence of the accused at the time of hearing before charge as they had to take instructions from their clients, they were advised to take the same under video conferencing.

Serious question about the jurisdiction of the Court to conduct the case was raised in the light of National Investigation Agency Act. A procedural law that mandates that all cases under some statutes mentioned in the schedule be investigated and tried by National Investigation Agency apart from other grounds.

What was expected was that the court would pass orders on the applications for discharge and for orders on hearing of the parties before framing of charge. Usual practice is that when orders are passed some time is granted to the accused to challenge the same before the High Court, if they are not satisfied and if they feel that the grounds urged by them before the court were not properly appreciated by the court.

Most of the accused have little knowledge of English or Kannada. The learned judge passed orders on the applications rejecting them and the counsels had sought for copies of the orders as they intended to challenge the same before the High Court of Karnataka. Even without making the copies available for the accused and the counsel to know on what grounds the Learned Judge had rejected the applications, the court rushed to post the matter for framing charge in the case. strangely the order was passed in Kannada, a language not known to the accused persons. order was passed on 25th February, 2012 and was posted for framing of charges on 27th February, 2012, mere 48 hours to secure copy of the order, analyse and to decide whether to challenge the order or otherwise, 26th February, 2012 is Sunday.The advocates only know the operative portion of the order as the entire order is yet to be provided to them for studying. When will they get the copy of the orders? when will they study? when can they give their opinion on the orders that whether it is a good one or that one that needs to be challenged? The court rejected the prayer of the advocates that the case may be adjourned by atleast five to seven days so as to enable them challenge the order. Most of the advocates appearing for the accused are not acquainted with knowledge of Malayalam. Their difficulty is compounded. They have serious problems relating to confidentiality of communication with their clients as they are compelled to take assistance of the other accused or the police for translation.

Why was this mad rush to Frame Charge against the accused persons? They have not demanded that the court to immediately conclude the trial. They are also not running away from the court. All of them are in judicial custody? Why is this mad rush to charge? They are in custody of the court for more than three years. While the courts offer ‘reasonable opportunity’ for challenging the orders of the courts in higher courts, be it the case of 2G, Commonwealth games cases and in long list of cases of corruption accross India, strangely even on repeated request these accused are denied that opportunity.

The oft repeated statement in the court is that trial of the case needs to be completed at the earliest and hence process needs to be expedited. Question that worries us is that whether it is being expedited or short changed. What is the reason for this tearing hurry to frame charges?

These persons are accused of committing offences. The police have investigated and filed charge sheet against them. The matter is in the court. Court has to conduct the case in accordance with the procedures giving equal opportunity to the parties whether it is prosecution or defense. In the process of expediting the conduct of the case can the court deny the rights to the accused persons?

Even before many of you read this, the court might have already framed charges against the accused for long list of offences alleged against them and expedited the process of trial in the interest of the accused persons! […]

Read the full facebook note here.

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