Statement on behalf of lawyers for Podiyam Muiye
On 22.5.2017, Podiyam Panda was produced before the hon’ble High Court at Bilaspur surrounded by police. He was not allowed to meet or speak with anyone before he entered the court. Taken right up to the bench, when asked by the hon’ble judges, he answered that he was with the police on his own volition. At the request of Adv Sudha Bharadwaj, the Hon’ble court allowed Podiyam Panda to meet his wife, Muiye, who had filed the current petition. The Hon’ble bench called upon the ASP Jitendra Shukla accompanying him to ensure safety of the Petitioner, Podiyam Muiye and the detenue, Podiyam Panda, and to provide free access to Muiye and her children to the detenue. The petition was thereafter dismissed.
Panda left the court surrounded by police escorts. Once outside the court, when he was asked whether he would like to meet his 8 and 14 year old sons, the ASP accompanying him rudely abused the women lawyers, pointing his fingers at them, asking them to shut up and told them that they would have to file another habeas in order to get a chance to speak with Panda directly. The lawyers reminded the ASP that Panda was an independent person and should have the right to meet his children. Shouting most brazenly and offensively, the ASP continued to intimidate the lawyers and then Panda was whisked away brusquely by the ASP, who had told the hon’ble court moments earlier that that Panda was completely “free.” Finally, Panda’s wife and children were allowed to meet with Panda in private, at the intervention of court security staff.
Statements by ASP Jitendra Shukla that Panda complained before the Hon’ble Court that his wife has been kept captive by the women lawyers are a complete fabrication – no one made such statements in court, as can be verified from the court record. Such misleading information is not only mischievous, it is also in contempt of court proceedings.