Monday 19th December, 2016
Alipore court, Kolkata, India
A white marble building stood in front. The old white walls could be seen to have heard some important cases in the history of the country. The walls, scribbled with pro independence quotes were still intact. The tricolour stood up proud on the top of the building.
Two cars stop right in front of the old wooden stairs leading to the courtyard. One of the cars is a police jeep with a red silent siren on top, the other a black sedan. The jeep is carrying Elizabeth and the two officers along with a couple havildars. Out steps Aman from the sedan. No body darts an eye around. The courtyard is rather a small lawn with few people and more lawyers around. Some lawyers seem to be running at the sightest sight of a potential client. The police escort Elizabeth inside.
Inside, we come to a large room with pictures of many national leaders. A huge table occupies the front with a high chair behind it. Two wooden enclosures are seen on both sides of the table. Just facing the table are two another sets of tables. These tables accompany many chairs and men and a woman wearing black gowns sit on those.
The two officers remove their cap as soon as they enter the court. James escorts Elizabeth to one of the enclosures and leaves her there. A guard stands just behind Elizabeth. The two officers take their positions and stand at the side of the courtroom. The other havildars stand guard at both the enclosures. Aman enters the court and sits at one of the chairs accompanying table. Just a few minutes later, Raj enters and seats himself at another chair on the other table.
Just behind the tables are many wooden benches where people of all caste and breed are seated. The judges’ chair faces all of them. Another chair and table lie silent just below the one for the judges. A man, who seems to be in his mid fifties is busy seated working on some documents.
The clock strikes 9 and a bell is heard. The person below the judges’ table rises and asks everyone to rise. The back door opens up and a man close to his sixties enters the room. He walks up to the high chair and takes his seat. This is followed by everyone in the lawyers and public benches being seated again. The person sitting below , puts up a sign which reads a name and the words “Registrar” on his table. The judges’ table already has a wooden sign which reads the name – “Justice Kerahwar”. The registrar calls out the number – “157” and goes on to say, “Elizabeth Williamson vs. The state of West Bengal.” This is followed by Elizabeth signing some documents and producing what seems to be an Aadhar card.
Aman stands up at the moment the registrar sits and addressees the judge –
“Hon’ble justice, I stand here to represent the state of West Bengal. Mrs. Elizabeth Williamson, defendant no. 1 , is believed to have committed murder as defined in the relevant sections of the IPC. Late Mr. Jack Williamson was a police officer of the rank of senior inspector working for the Kolkata police department. On the night of Saturday, the 17th – 18th of January, 2016, at about 2 AM, Mr. Williamson received an urgent phone call from his colleagues about a particular case he was investigating. He was told that he’ll be required immediately and was asked to report immediately. After about 15 minutes, when senior inspector James, present in the court here (he points to James who shakes his head) suspected something wrong, he decided to take his team to the house of Mr. Williamson. The police entered the house to find Jack lying in a pool of blood with a bullet injury on his forehead, his official revolver was missing. Mrs. Elizabeth Williamson sat beside the body. On calling a doctor, it was concluded that officer Jack had died of a bullet injury. No other person was present in the house when the incident took place. The defendant has confessed her crime in front of the police, the statement of which is presented before the Hon’ble court. (the registrar passes a file to the judge). I request the court and my lord to ensure justice be served and Mrs. Elizabeth be punished to death.”
Raj rises from his seat and exclaims, “Objection my lord, my client isn’t guilty. She’s being framed”
Aman : “The court asks for proof.”
Raj : “My lord, I request for some time to come up with the required evidence.”
Judge : “The court gives a time of two weeks. Does the prosecution require the custody of the accused?”
Aman : “No, my lord. The investigation is already complete and the charge sheet filed”
Judge : “Defendant 1 is sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Next hearing on 2nd January. The court is adjourned”.
Featured image by Biswarup Ganguly