The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Will to fight talks in world of silence

Calcutta, April 22: When Chandana Bhattacharya said she would fight for her rights in court, people around her asked: How'

Thirty-two-year-old Chandana is hearing and speech impaired.

Several hearings have taken place at the Kalyani civil courtroom and Chandana is making her points loud and clear.

On March 24, 1998, on return from her in-laws’ house in Burdwan she discovered that someone had started constructing on ancestral property belonging to her and her similarly handicapped brothers.

Taken aback, Chandana rushed to the registration office, where she learnt that the land had been transferred to a relative’s name. “I have no clue about this. This land is the only thing left for me,” Chandana, who has studied till primary school, pleaded with the registrar through a friend.

The registrar told her that there was nothing he could do. She decided to settle her scores in court, but the lawyers could not comprehend what she was saying. “It is a good case, but we can’t communicate with her at all,” they said. Finally, a lawyer agreed to file the case, but after completing the formalities leading to the admittance of the case he realised that the communication gap was just too much.

Left with no one to take up her case, Chandana decided to do it herself. Could she be allowed under law' Section 119 of the Indian Evidence Act revealed that Chandana could plead her case either in writing or through an interpreter.

In the meantime, a friend of Chandana advised her to take the guidance of a lawyer who was conversant with sign language. Lawyer Arup Dasgupta assisted by two others, Mitali and Soumitra Dasgupta, decided to help Chandana free of cost.

Civil judge Subhankar Sen first asked Chandana to plead her case in writing. “It was, however, getting very difficult and time consuming, prompting the learned judge to allow her to plead through an interpreter,” said Arup Dasgupta.

An interpreter from the Bandel Deaf and Dumb School arrived to assist Chandana at the court, where she explained how her property had been usurped.

“Whatever the outcome of the case, I have made my point that if you have the determination and the will to fight, no one can stop you,” she said through her interpreter.

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