On 22 December, the longest fought legal battle in the history of the Indian Judicial System saw it’s end. Sister Abhaya Case verdict was pronounced by the Special CBI Court in Trivandrum and the accused Thomas Kottur and Seffi were sentenced for Life Imprisonment.
In the 28 year old case, Jomon Puthenpurackal is a name that we should never forget or ignore.
He is a one man army who for decades has fought the corrupt and criminals masquerading as high and mighty in the society. Jomon Puthenpurackal has studied only up to Class 6, yet he has the legal acumen and tenacity to fight many a long battle.
28 years ago, on 27th March 1992, Sister Abhaya, who was doing her pre-degree course was found dead in a well in her convent. The Kerala police, succumbed to political pressure and had systematically destroyed all evidence at the crime scene. It was at this point, that Jomon stepped in.
He formed the Abhaya Action Council and vowed to fight till all the criminals who belonged to the powerful Church were convicted. Today, Jomon has been vindicated. Despite tremendous pressure exerted on him by politicians and the clergy, Jomon refused to give up. For him, the poor family of Abhaya and the young nun deserved justice. Abhaya was killed as she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and saw something, that she was not supposed to see.
A man who did not marry so as to focus all his energies to help the wronged ones, he spends all his time and money fighting cases in various courts. In the case of Sister Abhaya, the local police tried their best to portray the murder as suicide, but Jomon fought legally and got the CBI to investigate. But the then UPA government was pressurized by Congress leaders from Kerala to close the case, as it suited their vote bank.
Three times, CBI went to different magistrates asking for the case to be closed due to lack of evidence, but the judges refused and asked the investigation to be done again. Finally, after being forced to get to the bottom of the case, CBI used scientific evidence to pin the three murderers. Accused No 2, Father Jose Poothrikkayil got away, but other two, Father Thomas Kottur and Sister Sephy were pronounced guilty of murder by the Special CBI Court in Thiruvananthapuram, today. As he stepped out of the court this morning, Jomon declared that his mission of 28 years was complete and even if he drops dead now, he is happy with what he has achieved.
People like Joemon Puthenpurackal are rarest of the rare, in an era where lawyers charge lakhs per appearance and often have no qualms in defending the indefensible.