Congress MP Mohammad Jawaid on Sunday said he plans to bring a private member’s bill during Parliament’s Monsoon Session seeking compensation to a person “wrongfully jailed” and penal action against erring agencies.
The Lok Sabha member from Bihar’s Kishanganj said a spike in such cases and the alleged targeting of fact-checker Mohammed Zubair have had a bearing on his decision to bring the bill.
There have been innumerable cases in which a person has been picked up by police, put in jail and finally acquitted of all charges after facing severe harassment at the hands of the law enforcement agencies, Jawaid told PTI.
This has been happening for decades but it has definitely increased under the Narendra Modi government, Jawaid alleged.
“Keeping this in mind, I have decided to bring a private member’s bill to ensure that in cases of people wrongfully jailed, appropriate action is taken against the officials or government agencies concerned and the aggrieved person should get proper compensation as well as a government job,” the 59-year-old Congress leader said.
Asked if the recent case of Zubair’s arrest and the Opposition’s charge of the fact-checker being allegedly targeted had a bearing on his decision to bring such a bill, Jawaid said there were many things that had a bearing on his decision and “this is also one of them”.
However, he asserted that he was motivated to act over several such cases coming to the fore in the media but would not be specifically mentioning or citing a particular case in his bill.
Jawaid’s bid to bring such a bill comes days after the Supreme Court noted that jails in the country are flooded with undertrial prisoners and the majority may not even be required to be arrested despite registration of a cognisable offence.
The apex court had made the observation while directing the Centre to consider framing new legislation on bail to streamline the release of accused in criminal cases noting that the Code of Criminal Procedure as it exists today is a continuation of the pre-independence era with its modifications. The court also observed that in a democracy, there can never be an impression that it is a police state.
Jawaid said that being arrested and charged with crimes is a matter of life and death and affects not just the person involved but his family, neighbourhood, community and friends circle. It is a “big mishap” of which that person may not be deserving, he added.
The bill will be applicable to those cases in which people were held in jail and then later acquitted with no charges proven on them, he added.
On whether he would get permission to table the bill, Jawaid said it was the right of every member to put in a private member’s bill looking at the importance of the issue and he will also do so.
The bill will have provisions of providing compensation to the aggrieved person, a government job to him or her and also penal action against “erring” government agencies and officials.
Asked about several such cases, in which a person has been jailed only to be acquitted of all charges, involved Muslims, Jawaid said the bill was for everyone and not just Muslims, but stressed that “definitely” the number of Muslims targeted in this manner was much more.
Also, Dalits, backward class people, tribals and all weaker sections have been targeted in this manner, he said.
“Such cases occur where the government is incompetent and to hide its flaws, it portrays a macho look by such actions,” the Congress MP said.
Jawaid, who had expressed his desire to come up with this kind of a bill a few days ago on Twitter, had gotten immediate support from two Congress MPs — Shashi Tharoor and Karti Chidambaram.
Jawaid claimed that not just those two members but members from other parties had also expressed support for the cause in private. Everyone cannot explicitly come out in support due to various “compulsions”, he added.
“Looking to prepare a bill on mandatory compensation to person wrongfully arrested due to malicious prosecution by the police.Through this, the accused who suffered irreparable loss mental, physical or monetary,will be provided with adequate compensation by the state,” Jawaid had tweeted earlier.
Asked about his intention to bring the bill when most private member’s bills are unlikely to be passed, he said that as an MP it was his duty to raise such issues.
Jawaid also asserted that in the next Lok Sabha if he wins another term and his party comes to power he will strongly push for the bill to become a law.