At last, like the first stirrings of a breeze on a still summer day, comes some news, in Dada's case, that the judiciary is exercising some of the independence for which it was designed.
On May 19, the police searched Dada's home in his presence and in the presence of his family, his lawyers and a large gathering of the press and the public. One of the items seized was the hard drive from his computer. It was sent for analysis to a forensic laboratory in Hyderabad. Requests to return the hard drive, or to produce it as evidence, were being stalled by the Chhattisgarh police on the grounds that it was an article and not a document, and therefore need not be made available to the defence. On October 28, Dada's lawyers argued that the DVD containing the files on the hard disk was indeed a document within the meaning of Section 65 B of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code, because it was computer evidence. The trial court in Raipur upheld this argument. The DVD will now be furnished to Dada, meaning presumably his lawyers, for examination.
The other tiny frisson of victory was the refusal of the court to allow Dada to be "present" in court by video link-up. Dada had complained about it the last time, and argued that he was being denied his fundamental right to consultation with his family and his lawyers. The only person he could see on his screen was the judge. In rejecting Dada's petition to be allowed to appear physically in court as "premature", the court observed that this arrangement was not ordered by the court but by the jail authorities. The court also insisted that Dada should be produced in court for whenever his physical presence was necessary, including at the time of the framing of charges and cross examination.
I am also appending three clips showing a documentary on Dada's work. It is entirely in Hindi, and no subtitles are available. With grateful thanks to Vidyadhar Gadgil, who published them on YouTube after receiving the video from Boudi.