A Judge (Mr. Prabhakar Gwal) in Chhattisgarh who is known for upholding the law even when it went against certain political interests has been terminated. He is following due process within the legal system and needs our support for
- Legal support to pursue his case in higher forums and courts (12K per month) Lawyers forum in Chhattisgarh are helping him with legal procedures but he needs financial support for his travel, accommodation and other sundry expenses connected to his case.
- Financial support for children’s education and his personal support (60K annually). He has two children (12th standard and 8th standard) and this money is for their hostel expenses
Background and details follow (Adapted from CounterCurrents website**):This comes as an urgent appeal to you seeking support and solidarity for Mr. Prabhakar Gwal. Gwal has been a well known people’s judge from Chhattisgarh. Mr. Gwal a Chief Judicial Magistrate who was known for his integrity was dismissed in April 2016. He was last posted as Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sukma where from he was dismissed from his services by state government.Who is Prabhakar Gwal?Prabhakar Gwal has been born in a Ganda community in a small village namely Nanakpali, near Saraipali of Mahasamund district. A community and region which has a history of bonded labour. He has come up through all the pains his parents faced and bore the burden of the social system of caste in every day life from his childhood. After completing his early studies, he joined for law and became a lawyer. He practiced for 10 years after which he joined the judicial service in 2006. Life as an untouchable has given him the orientation on socio-cultural and political patterns of Indian society, which reflected in his tenure as a judge.
Mr.Gwal had the reputation of an upright judge as he took cognisance of corruption related complaints and took strong action. He has questioned the manner in which the police have been indiscriminately arresting tribals in the conflict zones of Chhattisgarh.
The context in which his termination took placeMr.Gwal came into limelight after his remarkable judgement in which he sentenced five persons to six years imprisonment each in a case relating to leakage of question papers of PMT, being conducted by Chhattisgarh Professional Examination Board or Vyapam, in 2011. He passed the order as Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Bilaspur.In August 2015 he passed orders to file an FIR and subsequent investigation into the role of senior officials of the police department for their role in attempting to suppress evidence in the case. After this, he received several intimidating threats.
He has had a history of exposing corrupt officials and politicians. While Mr.Gwal was posted in Bilaspur, he had ordered an inquiry against government officials and Police officers, for the infamous ‘Land-Scam’. The land scam is known for involvement of an elected representative. Similarly, he had ordered for inquiry of Bilaspur RTO officials. He was then transferred to Raipur, where he rejected to accept Closure Report in the case of IPS officer's suicide.
Mr.Gwal had filed a complaint of intimidation against an elected representative in his personal capacity at the local police station. After this all hell broke loose and instead of action against the elected representative, the High Court issued a show cause notice to Gwal which claimed that he has violated rules under C.G. Civil Service Conduct Rule, 1965, under which they claimed that he was required to seek permission of the High Court before filing such an FIR against the elected representative and the police officer. An adverse order was passed against him without any inquiry and his one-year annual increment was cancelled as penalty.
As a punishment, Mr. Gwal was transferred to Sukma district as CJM, in Bastar division. He had to face an hostile local administration as he was not provided the usual security allocated for judges in conflict areas. Not only did he conduct fair and speedy trials, he also brought to the notice of the higher judiciary the conduct of the police in Bastar region.
In keeping with his fearless attitude and his adherence to the facts and the law, Mr. Gwal also passed orders indicting a school in Sukma district for taking inordinately high fees. After he took cognizance in this case he received a call (of which he has an audio recording) from the District Collector who said that he should consult him before passing such judgments. After receiving this call, Mr. Gwal wrote to the District Judge and Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh, notifying them about the phone call from Collector where he explained that there was an attempt to interfere in judicial process and to influence the court. No action was taken upon his complaint. Instead he received multiple show cause notices as a response to his complaints against some of the sitting judges in the lower judiciary.
This upright and dutiful judicial officer would insist on asking the name, age, village, father’s name and all relevant details of those arrested; mostly poor and innocent Adivasis who were produced before him. Rather than accepting the regular practice till then of permanent warrants produced by the police which contained no other details other than the name of the arrestee, Mr.Gwal chose to stick to procedure. He cross examined the arrestees about the alleged seizures including weapons and their activities. When it became obvious that the police could not establish any crime against those arrested, he would conclude that those arrested are ordinary villagers. Mr.Gwal went to the extent of communicating directly to those arrested through a Gondi interpreter, the language the arrestee understood.
This judge was so fearless that he would term the arrests of thousands of people being produced before him as Maoists as fake arrests; he wrote to the District Judge and even Director General of Police that the police is implicating innocent people. He went to the extent of issuing warnings to Thanedars that he would send them to jail if they framed innocent people.
The people of Bastar viewed a ray of hope in Judge Prabhakar Gwal, in an otherwise bleak scenario of displacement and large scale repression. In a conflict zone like the Bastar, where due systems and guarantees, and law and order have been completely torn off, it needs a great amount of courage to challenge the vested interests and powerful sections to remain independent. The casual removal of a district judge, is in contravention of procedure.
The Termination ProcessOn the April 4, 2016 Judge Prabhakar Gwal received an automated message on his phone. He was in fact removed by an order of the High Court on April 1, 2016. The message said he had been dismissed from his post as Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sukma, Chhattisgarh in ‘public interest.’ The official letter, that he later received, stated that the State Government on the recommendation of the full bench of the High Court of Chhattisgarh had dismissed him under Article 311 (2) of the Indian Constitution. The order stated no reasons or charges for his dismissal apart from that his removal was in public interest. Prior to his dismissal, Mr.Gwal had faced a series of irregular transfers; show cause notices, though what lead to this dismissal is still unclear.
The Present CrisisMr.Prabhakar Gwal’s plight did not end up with his termination. His woes continued to haunt him on a consistent basis. Life is too difficult for him and he is a person of integrity and self respect that he would not express it to anyone in the world. Many of his dues have either not been provided or got entangled in procedural circus. Financial crisis is haunting him day in and day out as the day-to-day expense is turning out to be a serious affair. His two children studying in schools are at the verge of being thrown off the school. His appeal in the High Court has been dismissed. This is the context under which this appeal comes.Contact details of Mr. Prabhakar Gwal +919479270390; +919826116714 email@example.com
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