BHAGALPUR, Punjab, India: The High Court has issued a notification for holding a hearing in the case of Simranjit Singh Mann, the Chief of U.A.D., and a former D.I.G. of Punjab Police in the Bhagalpur Central Jail. Hearing was held in the court premises. This is the jail in which Mann and four others Kanikar Singh, Jaspal Singh, Charan Singh, and Gobir Singh have been lodged since their arrest in November, 1984, they have been charged among other things, with sedition and waging war against the country. The hearing is being conducted in the open court of Sessions Judge, S.V. Verma, the Defense lawyers, had earlier won their point by arguing against the court sitting in the jail as the prosecution was pressing for it. The court has also accepted the point of the defense that the High Court notification had changed the situation. However, on first two days of the resumption of the hearing, this week, prosecution did not mention the high court notification before the Sessions judge. Everyone including the relations and friends of the accused who had come from far off places were talking of the notification. As the point has not been raised by the prosecution, the court also appears not to have thought over the question. However, when once the point was made, the modality of the continuing of the court in the jail will have to be worked out. As the case was not going to be heard in camera, arrangements for the presence of relations of the accused persons and press will have to be made wherever the hearing takes place. The hearing in the jail premises will not give the feeling of open ‘ court in the real sense, one of the defense lawyers said. The hearing so far also has been held in a very tight security arrangement. On the day of the hearing in the case armed policemen took up positions at the gates of the court and everyone had to undergo a body search. Both the Bihar police and CR.P.F were deployed.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 25, 1988