Theft and Recovery- an Anecdote

 

All of us lawyers have always had those few incidents back in our life at law schools which always remain with us. Somehow law school experiences; I feel are one of their kinds. You don’t find such in any other educational institute. The stories, the situations are way too real life. Let’s have a peek into what Paavni of Symbiosis Law School, Pune has in her bag.

What was to be an ordinary dinner out with friends turned out to be quite an adventure. We’ve all heard stories from people of their things getting stolen, but being the story teller, especially as a law student certainly affords a different perspective.

It all started the moment we reached our destination and saw the customary assemblage of people standing around the street that led to a number of restaurants. Without a second thought we get off our cab and I opened my bag to pay, the moment that led to an extremely long night and an equally arduous two weeks.

With all my belongings including phone, money and ID card in my bag, I felt a tug. The next thing I know, the inconspicuous man who standing next to us snatched my bag and was running towards a bike standing a few meters away with another man. Sadly I couldn’t have a Queen moment in which I didn’t let go of my bag, and my attempts to chase him were also rendered redundant as I saw him climb onto the bike which rode off into the night. How I wish I hadn’t worn heels that day.

For a few moments we all just stood aghast at what had just transpired. Coming back to our senses we were contemplating what to do when the cab driver (if only all cabbies were this nice) called and told us the bike number. Funnily enough it took us a few second to decode it as we realized that none of our counting in Hindi was too good.

Considering the time, we decided to return home and file a complaint in the morning. But as fate was to have it, this was just the beginning. Within an hour of the incident my friend received a call from a police station asking if they knew me and if I were with them as they have recovered a bag. They asked me about the details of my bag and its contents to ensure it was indeed mine and asked me to come to the police station immediately as they had caught the thieves. We were all very skeptical as we had never heard of such prompt action by the police for something we hadn’t even filed a complaint for yet.

We ultimately agreed to go to the police station against our better judgment, thinking only of Tuka Ram and all the other cases we had read in our IPC classes of custodial violence throughout the journey. With great apprehension we arrived at a very dark alley which led to the entry of the station. To some relief, the station itself was well lit. Not sure about the procedure and in the general anxiety, we called up our extremely nice seniors who left everything and reached the Police Station in 10 minutes. The police wrote a complaint and asked me to identify the handcuffed culprits and the bike, all while offering us a cup of tea.

At 1:00 a.m. when the formalities were completed and we thought we could finally return home, we were highly mistaken. They commanded us to go to a different police station as even though the thieves were caught in their jurisdiction, the incident had taken place in another and therefore the FIR could only be recorded over there. We requested to return in the morning but to no avail which resulted in us reaching the second police station.

They asked us to repeat the incident and tell them the exact location where it took place, which to our misery was in the jurisdiction of a third police station. My learned seniors asked them to file a Zero FIR but they insisted on us going to the other Police Station. Finally we reached the third police station which had the correct jurisdiction. But of course, life can’t be this simple as they then asked us to go to a different branch of their station which had the computer to record complaints. On the way there they identified the spot of the crime to confirm the jurisdiction. Finally arriving at the fourth station which was a basically a tiny check post built on boulders that moved with every step we took.

The FIR was finally recorded u/s 154 charging the thieves with robbery u/s 390 read with S.34 (after we pointed out that it cannot be dacoity since there weren’t five people) in Marathi, translated for me in hindi and then signed by me at five in the morning.

The happiness in my sleepy eyes was short-lived as I wasn’t allowed to leave with my bag and was told to collect it from the court as it was now evidence in a criminal investigation.

With this commenced my two weeks of inaccessibility with no phone and more importantly, no whatsapp. After running to the lawyer’s office across town and visiting three different courts in search of stamp paper on a government holiday, I was finally granted a bail application and got back possession of my bag with everything intact.

All in all, it was definitely a unique experience (and I hope it stays that way), where I got the practical knowledge of IPC and CrPC while studying the same in college. I also learnt that the police can indeed be trusted and is capable of working without corruption. The Pune policemen are given awards for catching culprits which removes the need for bribery on their part and gives them incentive to work more efficiently which clearly shows that the right motivation is all one needs for transparent functioning.

The whole process could indeed be made a lot more victim friendly by simplifying complaint registration and delivery of possession of things already recovered instead of the spending so much time and money. But no system is perfect and considering the strength of the police forces and the infamous delays that take place in courts, I was lucky to have my things found at all and getting it back within two weeks doesn’t seem too bad in retrospect.

Every great lawyer has a case in their name from their law school days; this is probably the only one that’s going to be on mine.

Signing off – Paavni

I know you have got many in your bag too. Write about them to us and we would feature it in our blogs with all the due credits.

Drop mail to us at : info@incourt.in subject LAW SCHOOL SERVES.

 

Why it’s time to “Come out of Closet”

“The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody.”

― Rita Mae Brown

Junaid was already speaking to another co-passenger, Susheela, when I boarded the cab.There was something about him that attracted me immediately. He had the most radiant face, perfectly chiseled nose, deep brown eyes, the kind of smile you would want your dentist to design for you and perfect eyebrows.  I shifted my gaze when he saw me staring at him and burst out laughing.  And then the conversation started.

Within 5 minutes of speaking to him , he told me that he is homosexual and his face looked that sculpted because of make-up contouring. My heart shattered a bit inside but I passed on a smile with a puppy face. On the other hand, I expected my cab driver to jump out of the window and the Christian co-passenger to faint but to my surprise, nothing of that sort happened. Infact, they gave understanding looks. Junaid was surprised too.In the 50 minute ride, this young man of 25 told me the kind of treatment he had faced from the society just because of his sexual preference. How the people just refuse to identify any other sexuality except for heterosexuals.  How he was bullied in his childhood just because of the way he walked.  How his family supported him even when they belonged to an Indian-Muslim family. He told me some incidents which brought a smile on my lips and some which left a lump in my throat.  The ride ended positively, with us exchanging numbers and promising to meet again. And it left me thinking.

Being a lawyer, I had no answers for him when he asked me whether the law would ever tilt in his favour. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, criminalises any individual who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal. The Victorian era statute framed in 1860 was struck down by the Delhi High Court in 2009 in the case of Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi . The court stated that the section goes against Article 14, 15 and 21 of the constitution,  which guaranteed the right to equality before law, right not to be discriminated on the grounds of sex and right to life and liberty respectively . It further added that  the discrimination and atrocities which are faced by the LGBT community  are faced by them as they are targeted upon as a class.

The case was appealed in the Supreme Court, which eventually turned down High Court’s verdict and criminalised Section 377 again in the case of Suresh Kumar Kaushal vs. Naz Foundation (2013) . The judgment brought heavy criticism from the supporters of the LGBT as it runs against the history of the top court acting as a champion of the underprivileged. Not only did it strike down the contentions of  Naz Foundation, it also snatched away the last ray of hope of the LGBT, which were dependent on the apex court to deliver them justice. The verdict resulted in thousands of individuals shutting down themselves back into their closet, again. But it also brought forth widespread support for the elimination of Section 377 among the enlightened sections of Indian society, including eminent lawyers, jurists, renowned writers, political activists, journalists, doctors, actors etc.

The majority of LGBT shudder at the thought of coming out of their closet as they fear the treatment they would be subjected to.  The one’s who reveal their sexuality to their parents are often send to psychiatric care or “jhaad-foonk babas” for medication.  The  community faces regular discrimination from their families, employers, the police and society in general.  The situation gets worse in rural areas where families considers same sex marriages as a taboo and resort to subjecting the homosexual woman to gang-rape in order to heal her “soul”.  

The LGBT does not remain a miniscule minority anymore, as it was termed by the Supreme Court in its judgement. It has garnered support from a number of distinguished and esteemed public figures including Vikram Seth, fashion designers Rohit Bal and Manish Arora, film directors Karan Johar etc.  A private member’s bill to decriminalise homosexuality was moved twice by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor  in the Lok Sabha, but unfortunately he could not get it passed.  Arun jaitley, Piyush Goel, JD(U)’s Shivanand Tiwari took an equally dim view of the SC order, terming it “regressive” and expressed solidarity with the LGBT community.

The practice of accepting homosexuality has gained acceptance worldwide with approximately 76 countries in the world  which have criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex  (LGBTI) people, according to a revised version of a tally by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.  It is only a matter of time before we as a nation get rid of “Judeo-Christian morality” slapped on the citizens like Junaid by Section 377 and accord the LGBT community their right to live a dignified life. It is time we stop accepting the bipolar civilisation we are living in, which on one hand boasts of Missions to Mars and on the other hand  puts you in jail for loving the one you actually want to love.

 

Extending my share of support

Shraddha Lal

On Behalf of team InCourt

Indian perspective on Marital Rape

“Namaskar Nari! Shadishuda zindagi me aapka swagat h. Niyam anusar aapko har uss chiz ki han me han milani hogi jo aapke Pati aapse krne ko kahenge, chahe aap wo na bhi krna chahte ho. Ab aap iss zindagi me kadam rakh chuke hain aur yahi bhugatne wale hain. Dhanyavad!”

In our country, Marriage is considered as a legal agreement between two parties to spend their entire life together, willingly or unwillingly. Indian marriage system, usually a family drama, is highly influenced by our orthodox society. Even in modern era, wherein everyone considers it cool to be open minded, love marriages are still not accepted. A woman and a man who love each other can’t get married but two unknown personalities who have never seen or known each other are allowed to marry and moreover compelled to fall in love with each other. A girl who loses her virginity before marriage is considered as promiscuous woman, but if loses virginity after marriage with her husband whom she doesn’t even know, is accepted by our society. What kind of hypocritical world we live in???

In section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a girl getting raped by an unknown man without her consent is considered as a criminal offense and the criminal gets a severe punishment. But what about a girl getting raped by her husband? Why it isn’t considered as a criminal offense? Why isn’t there is any law for Marital Rape? Well, I presume that either our society doesn’t consider it as an offense or they are just ignorant about the very existence of the term, ‘Marital Rape’.

Before I talk about all this further, to clarify any doubts regarding this, Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. If any person indulges in sexual intercourse with you without your consent, it is considered to be rape. I find absolutely no reason for this to become inapplicable when it comes to marital rape. Any time a husband forces himself on his partner to engage in a sexual intercourse without her consent, the act should be considered as marital rape. Everyone has the right to say NO. They don’t give up their sexual rights as soon as they are married. I am obviously not tying my consent with my mate’s consent when I tie myself in the so-called ‘marital bond’. Sometimes a girl can’t even file a complaint against her husband because of lack of support from her family as they think their reputation will go down or because ’arre… Log kya sochenge’. You know this ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ concept is extremely famous in India. Forget ‘Tum kya sochte ho’, and accept something which is wrong because of the perception of these people who don’t even matter to you. You still won’t give a damn about your own daughter or sister and won’t stand up against the society for them. Why are women always told to adjust and suffer to save a relationship? Why can’t someone just hold her hand and be a support, stand beside her and tell her to do what is actually right????

During the amendment in criminal law, the official reason for not making any changes in law regarding marital rape was that it would “weaken the institution of marriage”. The only sense I can make from this is that a woman has to continue to try and make her marriage work even when her husband is a rapist and a willful brute. Bluntly, it is the woman who has to leave her own home, a woman who has to serve the husband’s home, a woman who has to raise the child, a woman who has to earn and handle the house and at the end of the day still consent to the sexual urge of her husband even when she doesn’t want to. Or I should simply say if you are a woman, you ought to suffer. Rape is Rape, adding the word ‘Marital’ before it doesn’t reduce the gravity of the crime. The misconception that sexual violations can’t take place in a marriage is extremely misconstrued, and must be revised. How about you begin by not treating women as objects? How about each and every woman adopts this ‘I will decide for myself attitude’ and become absolutely fearless about what ‘people will say’? Think. Rethink. Act!