AIDWA

On Jessica Lall Case

PRESS RELEASE - On Verdict In Jessica Lall Case
24 February, 2006  
   
A delegation representing the National Women's organizations met the Commissioner of Police, Shri. K. K. Paul, to express their concern over the shoddy police investigation leading to the acquittal of all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case. The detailed memorandum with demands is given below.
 
The Commissioner assured the delegation that he shares their concern, and will look into the demands that have been raised. The Department is waiting for the judgment copy to study the details and decide on the future course of action.
Sudha Sundararaman
(General Secretary)
 
24 February, 2006  
   
To,
The Commissioner of Police
New Delhi.
 
Dear Sir,
 
It is a matter of serious concern that in a public murder of a young woman, where the crime was witnessed by many people, the investigation launched by the police has been so flawed and defective that all the accused have managed to walk free. The acquittal of all 9 accused in the Jessica Lall murder case by the Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday is a shocking and disturbing verdict that highlights yet again the glaring infirmities in the legal process which denies justice to victims of violence, especially where the accused belong to influential and moneyed sections of society.
 
There are many revelations that point to the complicity of the police, and it is shocking that a number of leads were not followed up by the investigative team. For instance, the murder weapon was not recovered, the victim's clothes were not retained, the statements of the witnesses, including of a senior police officer who had been present were not recorded in front of a magistrate, there were delays in arresting suspects on various counts, the statements of several important witnesses were not recorded even by the police, etc. The inordinate delay of 7 years has also contributed to the miscarriage of justice.
 
This is not an isolated case. In recent times, there have been other high profile cases where the police have failed to carry out proper investigation. The other issue of witnesses turning hostile has to be addressed as well. There is an urgent need to have witness protection procedure put in place.
 
In this context, the women's organizations place the following demands for immediate action:
 
  • The case should be reinvestigated by the CBI.
  • Action should be taken against the police officers who have not carried out the investigation properly and with due care, and have in fact obstructed the course of justice. The officers guilty of negligence should be punished
  • An investigation should be launched under the newly passed Section 195A of the Criminal Law Amendment Act to assess the context in which the witnesses withdrew from their earlier statements, and action should be taken against those found guilty of tampering with the evidence, influencing the witnesses to turn hostile by monetary and other considerations and conniving to distort the truth.
  • Appeal should be filed against the verdict of the trial Court.
  • In all such high profile cases, directions should be issued for a proper time bound investigation, and swift action against the guilty.
 
We request the Police Commissioner to respond to the seriousness of the issue, and take long term corrective measures so that the guilty do not get away with murder, setting a very bad precedent.
 
Thanking you,
 
Yours Sincerely,
 
  • All India Democratic Women's Association
  • National Federation of Indian Women
  • Joint Women's Programme
  • Centre for Women's Development Studies
  • FORCES
  • Young Women's Christian Association
 
23 February, 2006  
   
The AIDWA expresses its deep concern at the acquittal of all the accused by the Additional Sessions Court in the Jessica Lall murder case. This is a disturbing verdict that highlights yet again the glaring infirmities in the legal process that denies justice to victims of violence, especially where the accused belong to influential and moneyed sections of society.
 
AIDWA condemns the role played by the police in conniving to render the investigative procedure defective. It is shocking that the murder weapon was not recovered, due to which the case could not be proved. The issue of eye witnesses to the crime later turning hostile raises larger questions of the need for witness protection and legal measures to ensure that witnesses do not rescind from their initial statements.
 
The AIDWA demands that the Government t should go on appeal immediately, and reinvestigate the case if necessary. An investigation should be launched under the newly passed Section 195A of the Criminal Law Amendment Act to assess the context in which the witnesses withdrew from their earlier statements, and action should be taken against those found guilty of tampering with the evidence, influencing the witnesses to turn hostile by monetary and other considerations and conniving to distort the truth.
 
AIDWA calls for long term measures to arrest this trend which has led to miscarriage of justice in this and other significant cases in the recent past.
 
Subhashini Ali
(President)
Sudha Sundararaman
(General Secretary)

Comments