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23rd-Jul-2015

Granting bail is exploited as big business: Causing bigger crisis for the judiciary

By MAINUL HOSEIN

Nothing is more frustrating than to see how helpless the people are against the abuse of power in the justice system of the country. One can at least talk about corruption in other fields of public life, though that does not mean talking is not risk-free or there is any escape from corruption. But as regards corruption among many involved in the activities of the justice system, they feel more protected than others. The fear of contempt of court is always there as an impending threat. As an outsider you have to be deadly careful about what is undermining the judiciary and what is not. Everybody will agree that corruption undermines the judiciary, meaning loss of public faith in the judiciary to do justice. Corruption may mean buying and selling of justice though that will depend on how unconscionable the justice system as a whole has turned into. We have to admit that the justice system has not yet become so unconscionable that we must all feel totally helpless. Still we have many judges who are conscious of the malpractices.But the situation has reached the crisis point to worry all those who are trying hard to save the justice system, knowing that in the absence of hope to get justice from the court we shall not remain a civilized nation. There will be anarchy of the jungle law for all of us.It is possible that those in the judiciary who are knowingly engaged in corruption have a different view. They may justify their acts on the ground that when there is corruption everywhere including at the very top how it would help if they alone remain honest? Not only that many others have amassed huge wealth through corruption in public life and to some it appears there is nothing wrong in corruption when opportunity so offers.It is vitally important to note that the major part of corruption in judicial system is practiced long before the cases reach for ensuring   justice finally by the court. So one can also argue that justice system in the end has not been so much corrupted as persons engaged at various other stages before the final hearing of the cases by the judges. But judges cannot make corruption easy by not being difficult in granting bail.For example, anybody can come to police to lodge a criminal case when it is palpably civil and depending on how you can manipulate the system the police will also look the other way and take the case. The police will be active as they can arrest anybody on suspicion even if their power is to be abused and one has no choice but to find a way to save himself from being arrested in the first place. Had the system remained unaffected by corruption or manipulation by powerful ones, then the question of arrest would not have arisen at all.If the people who wants to use the police is powerful, the only choice you have is to approach a lawyer for securing bail from the court. You have to surrender to the court -- no matter the case against you is absolutely civil in nature and a criminal court has no jurisdiction to touch the matter. For surrendering before the court for bail you will certainly need the help of a lawyer. Now the bail matter has to be settled. A lawyer is necessary but it is absolutely for the learned court to decide whether the bail should be granted and the allegedly accused person should be set free till the police investigation is over.Here comes the third stage. The lawyer's reputation depends on being able to obtain bail for his client. The client has to rely on the advice of his lawyer and what the lawyer says he has to follow. It is expected that as a lawyer he knows the best how the system works.Thus, in criminal cases where justice affects one's livelihood, business and personal freedom there is a network within the system itself who exploited the victim through corruption at every level even before the accused is free on bail though at that stage the person has not formally been charged as accused for involvement in a crime. It is certainly a matter of humiliation to suffer imprisonment on a criminal allegation before one has become an accused.For whatever reason and for the failure of whomsoever, if a society is not conscious of protecting the respectability of its members then there will be no respect for each other. We shall not be a respectable nation.In most cases, accused are not afraid of facing the court cases. But an accused is under duress of honour and do his utmost to obtain bail. There are those also who will take full advantage of ones such difficult situation if he (the victim) has money. The net result is that obtaining bail has become a big cruel business and bigger source of harassment.Our politics has also become an affair of criminal cases because of the scope of manipulation in starting police cases as well as in bail matters. Our judiciary is independent and nothing can stop it from enquiring into the big bail business. Because, it is causing bigger crisis in the people's perception of and faith in the justice system. We do not want corruption in the judiciary and it should be a matter for the Anti-Corruption Commission when the Supreme Court can do enough to maintain the reputation of the judiciary. Let the politicians do their worst. On the equal footing, let the judiciary also do its best to save the justice system for building a just society. Constitutionally, the Supreme Court has its independence to do so.Thoughtless is not the way to protect freedom anywhere. Their Lordships have to bring reform to the bail system thinking the importance of freedom.