M A I N   N E W S

Tarn Taran assault case
Shift 7 Tarn Taran policemen, give protection to victim: HC
Court gives Amritsar range IGP 24-hour ultimatum
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, March 18
Mincing no words to say that the Punjab Police acted in a “barbaric manner” before making miserable the life of a young woman assaulted by the Tarn Taran police, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave the Amritsar range Inspector General of Police a 24-hour ultimatum to transfer seven erring policemen out of the district. Protection has also been ordered for the victim and her family. Eventually, it is to be provided by a central force, and not the state police.

Rapping the police for interference in the cause of justice, Justice Ranjit Singh also directed the IGP to ensure that the Tarn Taran Senior Superintendent of Police or any other police officer did not approach her, or was even seen near her. The IGP was told to act, or be present before the court on Tuesday.

The directions came after Justice Ranjit Singh was told that the Tarn Taran SSP offered Rs 5 lakh to the victim for brushing the matter under the carpet. Before issuing the directions, Justice Ranjit Singh interacted with the victim and her father to assure himself the veracity of their allegations.

The officials “responsible for assaulting the lady” and now to be transferred out are Ashwani Kumar, Paramjit Singh, Narinder Singh, Harjinder Singh, Tarsem Singh, Gurdeep Raj and Davinder Kumar. “If the order is not complied by tomorrow, the IGP, Amritsar range, shall remain present here to explain reasons,” Justice Ranjit Singh added.

The matter was placed before Justice Ranjit Singh after the victim, her father and other relatives moved the High Court. They were seeking necessary action against police “not only for blatant violation of their basic human rights” and outraging the victim’s modesty in full public view, “but also for threats being advanced to them for withdrawing the complaint”.

Directions were also sought for an inquiry by an independent agency other than the state police and for transferring or placing under suspension the services of erring cops for “dereliction of duty to uphold the rule of law”. Keeping in view the urgency involved in the matter, the case was fixed for hearing less than an hour after it was filed this morning. At the time of hearing, the victim, her father and other relatives were present in the Court.

Taking cognizance of allegations of threat by the police to withdraw the complaint, Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “Prima facie, this may be so as the Supreme Court has taken a serious notice of this incident, when it appeared in the news and TV channels. Once the Apex Court has taken this action, the reaction of the police obviously would be to pressure the petitioners to succumb and compromise, which the police then would wish to place before the Supreme Court to get out of the tight situation”.

Justice Ranjit Singh also took note of the assertion that some recordings by the petitioners would indicate the amount of pressure being exerted on them to withdraw the complaint.

“The police cannot be permitted to act in a highhanded way. Once the Supreme Court has taken notice of the incident, the action by the police is interference in the cause of justice. First the police acted in this barbaric manner. Now, they have made the life of the petitioners miserable….,” Justice Ranjit Singh observed before parting with the case. It will now come up for further hearing on Tuesday.





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