Status Update in the case of murder of the RTI Activist and Anti-Corruption Crusader Ram Bilas Singh of Lakhisarai Bihar

Two years ago, on 8th December, 2011 noted RTI activist Mr. Ram Bilas Singh, aged 55 years, was murdered by a group of armed men in Lakhisarai district of Bihar. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took notice of this incident and issued notice to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Human Rights), Bihar seeking a report on the incident. It is heartening to note that the NHRC is still seized of this matter. 

The Late Ram Bilas Singh’s son has closely followed the murder trial and the progress of investigation. He has sent a recent report from the Lakhisarai Police which narrates in brief the multiple instances of RTI-based activism to which his murderers took offence and hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him in front of his own son in broad daylight. An unofficial translation of the police report is attached for the benefit of readers who may not comprehend Hindi. While we have taken care to translate the report as accurately as possible, kindly check with the original report for authentic information (attached).

The numerous instances of Ram Bilas Singh’s RTI activism are hard to ignore. I have seen copies of the RTI applications that he filed with various public authorities that corroborate the findings of the Investigating Officer. Ram Bilas Singh left behind many second appeals and complaints which were pending before the State Information Commission. Yet his son Abhishek Kumar claims that he has not received any order from the Commission disposing any of these matters. If this be true the attitude of the Commission is cause for concern. The Commission must become the champion of RT activists who are attacked or silenced.

Abhishek has hired a lawyer to assist the Public Prosecutor in the ongoing murder trial on the family’s behalf. One of the alleged key conspirators is a practising lawyer in Lakhisarai whom the police has been directed to arrest (see news clipping). The alleged conspirator has obtained anticipatory bail. Rumour has it that the local bar association has resolved not to let any of its members appear in Court against the alleged conspirator. Abhishek’s lawyer has told him that he will not be able to argue against the alleged conspirator in view of the local Bar Association’s stance. We are trying to verify the truth behind these alleged developments. We will keep you posted on this case. It is indeed a sad day when a lawyer being an officer of a court denies a client his fundamental right to be represented.

 

Author: 
Venkatesh Nayak
Programme: 
Access to Information
Date: 
Saturday, February 2, 2013
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