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A program unit of Centre
for Promotion of Social Concerns
Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu
‘Judiciary not providing protection to witnesses’

TIRUNELVELI: Registering more cases does not ensure justice for victims of usury. "Not only the police, but also the judiciary have an important role in ensuring that usury victims get justice. There is almost nil support from the judiciary and district legal services authority in protecting witnesses," alleges human rights activist Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch

On registering cases, Tiphagne pressed for quality follow up of the cases by the police, like how it was during the tenure of former SP of Tirunelveli District Asra Garg, who also later served as the DIG of Police of Tirunelveli Range. "They took proactive measures and even launched a people's movement against usury," he said

On the other hand, he stressed on the need for a proactive approach by the taluk, district and high court legal services authorities to get usury victims closer to justice and win the trust of victims. "I can confidently say that not one usury case has been taken up in the Lok Adalats. Adalats are a platform for banks to collect unpaid loans, why not take up usury cases?" he criticised

Henri Tiphagne suggested that the judiciary could jump into action by including usury cases in Lok Adalats instead of closing accident cases in large numbers. "Usury could initially be included in Lok Adalats in Tirunelveli and Madurai districts and in adjoining districts where they are rampant," he added.

"As many as 62 usury cases were heard in the public hearing we organised in Tirunelveli on December 10. We have now started approaching the police to take action in these cases," he added. According to him there are many usury victims who are silently suffering. They will come out boldly only when they gain confidence in the police and judiciary, he concluded.

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