Tehetta(West Bengal): India really needs more judges like Vikash Lama. The Nadia judge (additional Chief Judicial magistrate) on paid a surprise visit to a police station after the officer-in-charge failed to appear in his court and inform him whether a seized motorcycle had been returned to its owner given bail in a cop-attack case.
“This (the judge’s visit) was unprecedented… The judge waited for the OC to turn up till yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) went to the police station,” said a lawyer, referring to the way additional chief judicial magistrate M. Vikash Lama stunned all by showing up at the Tehatta police station.
Palash Saha was arrested from his home in Bhawanipur on April 12 this year for allegedly assaulting some police personnel during a clash at a village fair. He had claimed that the police had seized his Hero Honda CD bike at the time of arrest.
According to lawyers representing Palash, he had sought his bike back after getting bail but the police did not return it, following which he moved court. The judge first issued a notice to the OC on November 6 asking him whether such a bike had indeed been seized. There was no reply.
“Two reminders were issued. Later, the ACJM directed the OC to appear physically by December 15. Still, the OC didn’t turn up,” said Amritabha Mandal, Palash’s lawyer.
On Friday, Lama left his court in a car and reached the police station around 3km away. Caught unawares, OC Birendra Nath Pathak and other senior officials rushed and tried to speak to him, said a lawyer who had accompanied the judge.
“Unmoved, the judge demanded a seizure list, which the police failed to produce. He also asked the officers the reason for seizing the bike. They could not answer that either. Then, he started looking for the bike, checking the number plates of two-wheelers on the premises and finally found the one he was looking for,” said a source.
Lama went back to the court and ordered proceedings against the OC. “It is a blunder on my part. I have begged for pardon,” Pathak said.
(Prepared by Debashish from media reports)