Wednesday, December 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

DGP Rathore in the dock
Govt indicted; delay in chargesheeting condoned
From Yoginder Gupta & Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

AMBALA, Dec 5 — The status of the Haryana Director-General of Police, Mr S.P.S. Rathore, changed to that of an accused at 3.55 p.m. today when the Special Magistrate for CBI cases in Haryana, Mr A.K. Tyagi, announced: “I have allowed the application of the CBI for condoning the delay in filing the charge sheet against Mr Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case.”

Minutes later the Judge summoned Mr Rathore to face trial in his court on January 11 next.

The Haryana Government also came under severe indictment from the Judge for its failure to register a criminal case against Mr Rathore immediately after the receipt of the inquiry report by the then DGP, Mr R.R. Singh.

In his detailed 23-page well-reasoned order, Mr Tyagi said: “The persons responsible for the government inaction (in registering the case against Mr Rathore) also deserve prosecution and punishment under the appropriate provisions of law but unfortunately there is no prayer and proceedings (before this court) for this purpose.

“The motive and considerations leading to the Government of Haryana not ordering the registration of the FIR and investigation of the case are not known...When there is no explanation for the failure of the Government of Haryana to do so how can there be any well defined and elaborately-worded explanation for the delay by the government.”

Mr Tyagi said though in the face of it the delay in filing the charge sheet against Mr Rathore had not been properly explained but a careful analysis of the facts and circumstances of the case revealed a different picture.

As far as cognisable offences were concerned the state had taken over the responsibility of investigation and prosecution after the lodging of an FIR. This responsibility continued till the investigation was concluded and the prosecution was over. A complainant had no control over the government. Inaction on the part of Miss Ruchika, who was minor at the time of the incident on August 12, 1990, or her parents or the present complainant, Mrs Madhu Prakash, in not filing a private complaint in a court of law did not justify the government’s inaction.

“There is nothing on record to show that they (Ruchika and Mrs Prakash) were suitably trained in law...and it seems that they did not receive competent legal advice...The then DGP and the S.P., Panchkula, did not order the registration of an FIR (against Mr Rathore). The SHO (who was legally bound to register the FIR) did not register the FIR for want of government sanction...If Ruchika, her parents or Mrs Prakash considered the same (sanction) necessary where is the fault.”

Giving Mr Rathore his due, Mr Tyagi said though there was nothing on record to show that he used his influence on the government for not registering an FIR against him, yet for no account he could not be allowed to take advantage of the delay.

Quoting a judgement of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, Mr Tyagi said the High Court observed in a case relating to illegal felling of trees that officers deliberately sat on the challans against the offenders and allowed them to go scotfree on mere technicalities. Under such a situation it would be only appropriate if the delay was condoned and the bar of limitation was overlooked.

He said it was true that Section 468 of the Cr.P.C. imposed the bar of limitation to protect an accused person from vexatious and stale prosecution. But Parliament also framed Section 473 of the Cr.P.C. to protect the interest of justice. The second limb of Section 473 gave substantial powers to the courts to overlook the bar of limitation in the interest of justice.

The Judge said in Indian society girls and women many a time did not report their molestation or assault on their modesty due to social stigma attached to such offences. He said the fact that the offences covered under Sections 354 and 509(outraging the modesty of a woman) of the IPC were compoundable did not make them less serious than offences of rape and dowry-related crimes. Rather, offences under Sections 354 and 509, the rampancy of which was the bane of our society today, should be clubbed with the offences of rape and dowry-related crimes, which were offences not only against women but against society also.

He also said that the issue of locus standi of Mrs Prakash to be a complainant in the present case had been decided in her favour by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court when these courts asked the CBI to investigate the charges against Mr Rathore. Moreover, now it was the CBI which had filed the charge sheet. Therefore, the issue of Mrs Prakash’s locus standi was no longer valid. Further, the Judge said, Mrs Prakash was the legal guardian of a minor witness to the alleged incident and hence she was competent to file the complaint.

Rejecting the arguments of Mr Dinesh Mathur, a Supreme Court advocate, who had appeared on behalf of Mr Rathore to oppose the CBI application for condoning the delay in filing the charge sheet against the DGP, Mr Tyagi said to say that the case was the result of professional rivalry or because of yellow journalism or had been made out as a counter-blast to a defamation case filed by Mr Rathore against Miss Ruchika, her family, Mrs Prakash, her husband and certain newsmen were the questions of merit of the case and did not deserve to be considered at this time when only the application to condone the delay was being decided.

The Judge said since Mr Rathore had been contesting the defamation case, it was appropriate to presume that he must have preserved evidence in his defence. Therefore, no prejudice would be caused to Mr Rathore due to the delayed trial. Hence, he was taking cognisance of the offence allegedly committed by the accused.

After hearing CBI counsel, Mr Chander Mohan Sehgal, who was assisted by Mr S.K. Sud, counsel for Mrs Prakash, on the charge sheet, Mr Tyagi asked Mr Rathore’s advocates if they would take the notice to Mr Rathore or he should issue summons to him. The advocates favoured the issuance of the summons.

Earlier, the orders were to be pronounced at 10 a.m. But the time was changed to 2.30 p.m. Ultimately, the jam-packed courtroom heard the orders at 4 p.m. in pin-drop silence. Mr Rathore and his supporters, who had come to the court in large number, were today absent. Instead, activists of the Sonia Gandhi Association led by its Vice-President, Mr Puran Prakash Saini, gathered in the court compound and raised slogans against Mr Rathore. When Mr Rathore’s advocates objected to their behaviour and expressed fears that the anti-Rathore mob might turn violent, the judge asked the demonstrators to maintain decorum within the court premises.

Later, Mr Faqir Chand Aggarwal, who led the battery of advocates defending Mr Rathore, said he would file an appeal against the orders of Mr Tyagi either in the Sessions Court here or in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was assisted by Mr Adesh Kumar Jain, Mr J.S. Kohli, Mr C.L. Kohli and Mr Akhil Gupta. The CBI was represented by Mr S.K. Saksena, Senior Public Prosecutor, and Mr Devi Singh, DSP.

Outside the court, Mrs Prakash said the Indian judiciary had again demonstrated that it was a repository of justice for the common man. She said the first phase of the battle for getting justice for a girl, who was no more, had been won due to the support of the judiciary, the public and the media.


Malik new Haryana DGP
Rathore goes on leave
by Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 5 — Mr M.S. Malik, an IPS officer of the 1969 batch, will be the new Director-General of Police, Haryana. He replaced Mr S.P.S. Rathore, who has proceeded on long leave.

Mr Malik, who was Director-General (Vigilance Bureau), was appointed late tonight after Mr Rathore submitted his application for earned leave, stating that since the CBI has filed a charge sheet against him in court and next hearing had been fixed for January 11, he wanted to fight the case without any moral pressure on him.

The leave was granted. Some senior officials of the Haryana Government, including those in the Home Department, had no official intimation about Mr Rathore’s leave application until late in the evening before the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, took the decision to appoint Mr M.S. Malik as the next police chief of the state.

The government probably, had limited choice as Mr Ramesh Sehgal is due to retire on December 31 this year. One of the former Directors-General of Police, Mr Budh Ram Fansal, is also due for retirement early next year. The name of Mr Y. Hari Shankar, on deputation with the Union Government, was being mentioned for the position.

Mr M.S. Malik, who had three stints in the CID during Chaudhary Devi Lal’s government in Haryana between 1977 and 1989, is considered close to Mr Chautala.

Mr Malik, who belongs to a small village in Jind district, comes from a family of defence personnel. Commissioned in the Indian Army as Second Lieutenant in the Rajputana Rifles in 1969, Mr Malik saw action during the Indo-Pakistan conflict in the Bangladesh Sector and led commando operations. He topped the list of ex-defence personnel in the civil services in 1973.

He was allocated to the Haryana cadre and had his first posting as Assistant Superintendent of Police at Jind. He has been district police chief of Jind, Gurgaon and Bhiwani besides holding several other field positions. He had a couple of stints in the Railway Police in Haryana and was awarded President’s Police Medal for meritorious service in 1986. He was appointed Director-General of Vigilance, Haryana, in October last year.

Mr Malik has done his LL.B. and LL.M. and is registered with Panjab University for research in human rights and security forces in India.

He is also closely associated with the Sector 27 Jat Bhavan constructed in memory of Sir Chottu Ram. He is also associated with sports. He accompanied the Indian team to Bangkok which it won a gold medal in 1998. He is a Vice-President of the Indian Hockey Federation and Secretary-General of the Haryana Olympic Association.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |