Not a procedural lapse, but just a ‘procedure’

News channels run by left-leaning journalists are ridiculing the police’s decision to arrest Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, and Vernon Gonsalves.  A battery of lawyers, journalists, and retired judges stepped in with their usual anti-BJP rhetoric. The Supreme Court ordered police to keep the five accused under house arrest and gave Maharashtra police time till September 6 to present their case.

Documents related to the raids and seizure of items from the accused persons’ houses were in Marathi. Arrest warrants were translated in Hindi, and the police team claimed they verbally translated the document content in front of the Magistrate while getting the warrants. Raids were performed as per procedure and monitored by witnesses, accused as well as panchas. Translators assisted the accused wherever required. Left-liberal intellectuals claim the documents were drafted in Marathi with malicious intention.

The most crucial question, ‘was issuing documents in Marathi and translating them later a case of negligence or procedural lapse on police’s part?’ Mumbai-based Advocate Dharam Raj does not see anything unusual in the procedure.

“Police have the authority to search the property and arrest the concerned person after registering the FIR. Particularly, when they had recovered a correspondence and other material during previous raids that suggested the concerned persons were planning to carry out armed revolution to overthrow the elected government. They had the power to carry out searches and arrests even without a warrant.   Now, every state has two official languages. The first language is always the regional one while English or Hindi serves as a second language.  In Maharashtra, the government has passed a resolution and made Marathi the official language for lower courts. Now obliviously, cops in the state make all their documents in Marathi as eventually, the documents and charge sheet needs to be filed in lower court in Maharashtra. Courts in Maharashtra use the Marathi language as per Bombay High Court’s direction, and this is a long-standing practice. Accordingly, the local court issued the warrant and other papers in Marathi in Maoist supporters’ case as well. There’s nothing unusual about the same as claimed in various media reports,” said Advocate Dharam Raj.

The High-Court also recently pointed out that Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) candidates, who are looking forward to applying for the position of a civil judge need to be able to read, write Marathi, and translate documents from Marathi to English. Thus, presenting papers in Marathi with warrants translated in Hindi was not a procedural lapse. Let’s hope that the Additional Solicitor General representing the government will be able to explain the same to the Supreme Court during the next hearing.

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