Saturday, July 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Patiala Judge to conduct inquiry
Ruchika’s brother ‘falsely implicated’ in six cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Months after a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the state of Haryana and other respondents to show cause why they should not be burdened with compensation for being paid to Ruchika’s brother — Ashu Girhothra — “falsely implicated” in six cases, a Division Bench of the High Court today asked Patiala’s District Judge “to conduct an inquiry and submit his report to the Court expeditiously but not later than six months from the date of receiving the record”.

Delivering the verdict in the open Court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, also asked “parties, through counsel, to appear before the District Judge on July 22 for further proceedings”.

In their 20-page order, the Judges ruled: “It is true that we have no material or record except affidavit dated December 3 last year filed by Ashu in regard to harassment caused by (Haryana’s Director-General of Police) S.P.S. Rathore to him and his family. It is also true that unless the facts alleged by Ashu are established, he cannot be awarded any compensation and it is with a view to ascertain these facts that we are sending the case to the District Judge for recording evidence of the parties and submit a report to this Court for further consideration”.

The Judges further ruled: “We are not inclined to accept the contention on behalf of Rathore that Ashu should be relegated to his remedy in a civil court. The alleged incident of molestation took place in August 1990 and for several years no case was registered against Rathore even though the then DGP had prima facie found that a cognizable offence had been committed by him. The case was registered only after this Court intervened. Rathore is a very senior police officer and may be he had a clout in the government as a result of which the case was not being registered. We do not wish to dilate on this issue because the case has now been registered and the matter is pending in CBI Court at Ambala. More than a decade has passed since the occurrence took place and if Ashu were to be directed to go to a civil court it might take another two decades before the compensation would be finally decided”.

Taking suo motu notice of newspaper reports, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court had earlier asked the state of Haryana and other respondents to show cause why they should not be burdened with compensation to be paid to Ashu who had been falsely implicated in six cases.

In his reply, the Chief Secretary had, however, claimed that the state was not liable to pay compensation to Ashu. He had added that the police had discharged its duty in apprehending Ashu. The state, he had further added, could not be held liable to pay compensation if there were lapses, procedural irregularities, errors or omissions at the level of the executive machinery during the performance of its functions.

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