PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI1_2_2018_000164B)
PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI1_2_2018_000164B)

Mumbai: The newly-formed Maharashtra government has granted a ‘final’ extension of two months for the Judicial Commission, which is probing the Bhima-Koregoan/Elgar Parishad violence, to submit its report. However, the members of the commission are ‘unhappy’ with the treatment and claim more time would be required. They claim ‘justice hurried is justice buried’, saying is applicable to their case especially due to the government’s haste. The members are also not impressed with this ‘extension’, as there is no clarity on how much funds would the government be releasing for ‘smooth’ functioning of the commission.

Notably, the commission comprising Chief Justice (retd) Jai Narayan Patel and Sumit Mullick, the present state chief information commissioner, was constituted in February 2018 and has got five such extensions, to complete its probe in the case. “However, the commission became totally functional only after six months as initially there were no proper arrangements even for conducting the hearings. Thus, we required extensions from time-to-time,” CJ Patel told the ‘Free Press Journal’.

“We had informed the government that we require a minimum six months but they have given us two months only. Let us see what happens,” CJ Patel added.

On the reported claim of the government that it was not keen on continuing with the commission, CJ Patel said, “One should understand this is not a trial which goes on a day-to-day basis. We have to be fair enough to all and thus we have to ensure that every party (in the case) is given a chance to speak. And still, if the government says that the commission is of no use then I think they must soon take a decision.”

According to advocate Ashish Satpute, who has been appointed as a counsel for the commission, the time frame given by the government is not sufficient as many ‘crucial’ witnesses are yet to be examined.

“We had informed them that a minimum six months would be required but I do not know, on what parameters has the government provided only two months. I think we would need some more time as most of the crucial witnesses are yet to be examined,” Satpute said.

“As the saying goes ‘Justice hurried is justice buried’ we have to be patient because there are instances when witnesses do not turn up and we have to keep summoning them repeatedly. We have to ensure the comfort of the witnesses also,” Satpute said.

Apart from the 'deadline', the commission is also curious about the funds from the government. “We have learnt that the government has released nearly Rs20 lakh, however, we have not received the amount yet. In fact, the government is yet to pay my fees right from the beginning of the commission’s hearings, which runs into lakhs of rupees,” Satpute said.

The counsel further said several employees of the commission live on rent and are awaiting their salaries from November 2019.

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Free Press Journal