The then Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in Budgam admitted in open court that the judiciary had failed to administer justice in the Jalil Andrabi case. “The complainant party seems to be now justified in leveling aspersions against the court for its inability to procure the attendance of the accused,” he observed.
By this time, the police had information on Major Avtar’s whereabouts. On September 26, 2007, a written communication was received on behalf of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) 34 (JAT) which disclosed the officer’s whereabouts as TA-42277 Major Avtar Singh, s/o Ex Subedar Major (Hony Lt) Amar Singh, Village Ponti, PO – Mandhar, Tehsil Jagadhari, District Yamuna Nagar (HR). But it did not reveal his current address.
The police also received two more documents (CRB/WSD/07/11682-84 dated July 26, 2007 and CRS/364/07-13442-43 dated August 3, 2007) through which the court came to know that Major Avtar Singh was staying in Canada as per the information of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The CJM took strong note of the State’s failure to produce the accused in court. He said: “It is very astounding that the State of Jammu and Kashmir despite being posted with the whereabouts of the accused is not taking effective steps in the matter for ensuring the production of the accused in this court.”
The Indian State has not only being shielding its agents through draconian laws but also resorts to foul play to hamper the administration of justice. The Special Investigation Team set up by the High Court had identified Major Avtar posted in the Rawalpora Camp of the 103 Territorial Army as prima facie responsible for Andrabi’s death. But defence representatives told the High Court that the Major was not employed by the army any longer and that he had not committed the offence in his official capacity.
This was a loaded statement – in fact an admission that men in uniform at times commit offences in their official capacity.
-to be continued