Justice Hilton Must Also Go
The Special Tribunal,
Lahore Conspiracy Case,
Whereas two judges of the Tribunal have withdrawn or have been made to withdraw themselves from the Tribunal and two new judges have been appointed in their place, we feel that a statement is very necessary on our part to explain our position clearly so that no misunderstanding may be possible.
It was on 12th May, 1930, that an order was passed by Mr. Justice Cold stream, the then President, to handcuff us in asking the court to inform us as to the cause of this sudden and extraordinary order was not thought worth consideration. The police handcuffed us forcibly and removed us back to jail. One of the three judges, Mr. Agha Harider, on the following day, dissociated himself with that order of the President. Since that day we have not been attending court.
Our condition on which we were prepared to attend court was laid before the Tribunal on the next day, namely that either the President should apologize or he should be replaced; by this we never meant that a judge who was a party to that order should take the place of the President.
For more than five weeks no heed was paid to the grievances of the accused.
According to the present formation of the Tribunal, both the President and the other judge who had dissociated himself from the order of the President, have been replaced by two new judges. Thus the judge who was a party to that order - as the President gave the order on behalf of the majority - has now been appointed the President of the Tribunal. In these circumstances we want to emphasize one thing that we had absolutely no grudge against the person of Mr. Justice Cold stream. We had protested against the order passed by the President on behalf of the majority and the subsequent maltreatment meted out to us. We have every respect for Mr. Justice Cold stream and Mr. Justice Hilton that should be expected from man to man. And as our protest was against a certain order we wanted the President to apologize, which meant apology by the President on behalf of the Tribunal who was responsible for that order. By the removal of the President the Position is not changed because Mr. Justice Hilton, who was a party to the order, is presiding in place position has added an insult to injury.
Bhagat Singh, B.K. Dutt
25th June, 1930