The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Judge rights a ‘wrong’

How Susmita got her freedom

Around 6pm, Susmita settles in her seat in a black prison van with a lady constable beside her. The van sputters to life, reverses and revs up to move out of the Sealdah court.

Suddenly, a man in a white shirt hurries along.

Man: Where is the woman who has been sent to judicial custody'

(Two policemen look at him and point to Susmita.)

Man: The judge is looking for her. Please bring her back.

(He returns to the court. Five minutes later, Susmita enters the courtroom from the rear entrance, uncovers her face and steps into the dock.)

Judge M. Mishra: How big is your son'

Susmita: Sir, I have a daughter, not a son.

(She clutches on to the aanchal of her sari.)

Judge: Why did you slap this constable on duty'

Susmita: (after a few seconds’ silence): “I didn’t do anything intentionally.”

(The judge looks up, Susmita fidgets with a bangle.)

Susmita: Sir, I am a mother, mother of a daughter. If I am lying, let me return home to see my daughter dead.”

(Susmita starts sobbing.)

Judge: Where is your husband'

(Curious lawyers standing in front immediately ask for Sudip and, within minutes, he arrives. The judge looks at him and at Susmita.)

Judge: Where is the order sheet'

(Surprised lawyers whisper among themselves. One rushes out.)

Judge: (turning to lawyers in the front row): Soon after I passed my order (remanding Susmita in judicial custody), I realised I was wrong… wrong. Something within told me I was not right. But then, this can’t continue. You just can’t assault a man in uniform performing his duty.

(The order sheet arrives. The judge takes out his pen and starts writing. Susmita looks up and bends to speak to her lawyer.)

Judge: (looking up): I have passed the order (giving Susmita bail). She has to report to the investigating officer once a week for four weeks and also furnish a bail bond.

Lawyers: Thank you, sir.

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