The retired Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, is going to launch an NGO to offer justice to poor and helpless people.
Katju, who had earlier sought pardon for Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt and Zaibunissa Kazi, convicts in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case is the the retired judge of Supreme Court of India.
The NGO, ‘The Court of Last Resort’, will be headquartered in New Delhi, and have branches in all the states of the country.
Justice Katju explained on his blog, ‘It has been felt for quite some time that injustice is being done to a large number of people who have been languishing in jail either as undertrials whose cases have not been heard for several years, or who have unjustly remained incarcerated because the police have fabricated evidence against them, or for want of proper legal assistance or who have had to spend many years in jail and (were) ultimately found innocent by the court.’
The NGO will use Right to Information (RTI) and other means to obtain details of undertrials and convicts incarcerated in jails. Depending on the legal resources necessary, the NGO would then intervene and seek bail for those languishing wrongly in jails, or facing delayed trial.
In cases deserving of pardon, the NGO will seek suspension or reduction of sentences for the concerned undertrials by knocking on the doors of the President or respective state Governors.
During his visit to Mumbai two days ago, Justice Katju held meetings with top criminal lawyer Majeed Memon, activist-filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, and social crusaders to give shape to the NGO, based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s famous ‘The Court of Last Resort’, a popular TV series of the 1950s in the US that dealt with cases of miscarriages of justice of helpless undertrials in US prisons in the 1940s.
Lawyer Memon, who has fought several cases of accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts and other similar cases, said that Katju would be the chief patron and noted counsel Fali S Nariman would be chairman of the NGO.