Page:Forty Thousand Followers of Gandhi in Prison.djvu/12

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ment of disputes among themselves. The Government seems to be alarmed at this move, as it not only deprives them of a large revenue, but also cuts at the root of their prestige to which they are desperately clinging.

Illegal court proceedings.

Another scandalous feature of the present policy of the Government is that the people after arrest are kept for long terms in the jails as under trial prisoners and the trials themselves are unnecessarily prolonged in spite of the fact that the accused, as non-co-operators, do not take part in the proceedings.

Very often persons are arrested under one section, proceeded against under another and finally convicted under a totally different section of the Penal Code.

Lala Gowardhan Das and Sardar Dilawar Singh were nearly three months in jail before their cases were decided. There are numerous other cases which will tell the same tale. Another ingenuity which the police or the public prosecutors have devised is to charge a person under two or three different sections for the same act and get him cumulative sentences on each charge.

Sometimes as many as three cases have been brought against the accused for the same act as in the case of L. Gowardhan Das. But worst of all is the practice which the police is resorting to, of bringing charges involving moral turpitude against prominent political workers simply with a view to lower them in the estimation of the public, knowing full well that they would not, according to the principles of Non-co-operation, produce any defense or even cross-examine the prosecution witnesses.

Magistracy incapable.

Attitude of Courts. It is needless to say much here about the attitude of the courts. The magistracy has shown itself absolutely incapable of or unwilling to uphold the rights of the Indians and in all cases almost the courts have been merely the instruments for registering

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