'Decision to send Saritha back to jail not justifiable' - The New Indian Express

'Decision to send Saritha back to jail not justifiable'

Published: 14th November 2013 01:18 PM

Last Updated: 14th November 2013 01:18 PM

The High Court Vigilance Registrar, who probed into various allegations against Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate N V Raju, has said that the Magistrate’s action in Saritha Nair case was not justifiable. He also said that collecting mobile phone records of the ACJM is absolutely unnecessary. “When Saritha had specified cases where she was raped, instead of permitting her to submit a written complaint on that day itself, the Magistrate sent her back to jail. This cannot be justified. She was directed to file a complaint in writing, that too without consulting her lawyer,” a report by Registrar (Vigilance) S Mohandas stated.

The Registrar, in the report, said if the Magistrate had given Saritha a pen and paper and directed her to prepare and submit a complaint in the court hall itself, subsequent controversies could have been avoided.

“Since the Magistrate is not expected to have anticipated her request for confidential hearing and also considering the fact that the entire transaction had taken place during the pre-lunch session itself, one cannot even imagine refusal on part of the Magistrate to record her statement on account of any kind of influence, and that too through a mobile phone. So the question of destroying the statement, so recorded, does not arise. There is absolutely no necessity to call for the call details on the mobile phone used by Raju,” the report said.

The complainants -- K Surendran, BJP leader, and A Jayasankar, general secretary of the Indian Association of Lawyers (IAL) -- stated before the Vigilance Registrar that the Magistrate had partly recorded the statement of Saritha and later destroyed it.

“While recording Saritha’s statement at the women’s jail, Attakulangara in Thiruvananthapuram, she had stated that she was sexually exploited by some people, but did not mention their names. She had also stated that the in-camera proceedings had taken place for 20 minutes. She was very specific that the statement was not taken down by the Magistrate and she was told to submit a written complaint,” the report stated.

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