Rathore has no remorse for the wrong committed: Judge

Additional District and Sessions Judge notes Rathore failed in his duty by molesting a minor girl

Rathore has no remorse for the wrong committed: Judge

Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika molestation case, with his wife and lawyer Abha at the district court in Chandigarh on Tuesday. PTI

Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore has ''no remorse for the wrong committed by him,'' the Additional District and Sessions Judge noted while enhancing his jail term to 18 months for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra.

In his 103-page judgement yesterday, ADSJ Gurbir Singh also observed that "every witness of this case had to face allegations in one form or the other and attempt was made to catch the witness in a well woven legal web".

The legal battle was between two unequals, the Judge observed dismissing the appeal filed by 68-year-old Rathore challenging the six month rigorous imprisonment after he was convicted in the molestation of the 14-year-old budding tennis player.

"Although convict deserves maximum punishment which is prescribed for offence under Section 354 IPC but keeping in view the age of the convict, his medical background, his dependent unmarried daughter who is suffering from congenital heart problem, his meritorious service record and the fact that convict spent more than 200 dates in the court during trial of the case, I am of the view that purpose of law would be met if convict is awarded sentence of rigorous imprisonment for 1½ years. Otherwise, face of the public in justice delivery system/judiciary would erode," the Judge said.

The court held that allegations are of moral turpitude and such allegations are serious in nature pertaining to the circumstances when the victim was minor. "Liberal view cannot be taken, prolonged trial and age of the convict can be considered while passing the order on quantum of sentence," the court had said.

"There is no dispute that Ruchika committed suicide. A precious life is lost. Thereafter departmental enquiry initiated against the convict on the basis of inquiry report of DGP R R Singh were dropped. The convict got promotions and retired as DGP of Haryana," the Judge noted.

Observing that as police officer Rathore's role was to protect the public and as President of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association to train young budding players for India, the court said the Rathore failed in both duties by molesting a minor girl.

The court said people are afraid to send their minor girls to play grounds due to presence of such persons in the sports field. "Due to activities of such persons, our nation is lagging behind in every sport and citizens of country" feel ashamed after knowing that India has lost again, it said.

"As long as such persons are at the helm of affairs of sports associations, the presence of women in sports activities cannot be increased and real talent cannot be brought forward to represent the country in various sports. Justice should not only be done but it appears to have been done," the Judge said.

The Judge said, "I have considered the arguments of learned defence counsel if convict is not released on probation then it may affect his pensionary benefits but keeping in view the nature and gravity of the offence and the fact that the legal battle was between two unequals the said contention of learned defence counsel is of no help to the convict."

He further said, "If convict is released on probation then it would be mockery of the justice delivery system. It is a case in which convict deserves maximum punishment prescribed for the offence under Section 354 IPC. The learned trial court fell in error by awarding rigorous imprisonment of six months to the convict."

Noting that cross examination of Ruchika's friend Aradhana was conducted in 152 pages while that of Anand Parkash, Madhu Parkash, Manish Arora, Naresh Mittal and S.C. Girhotra was conducted in 26 pages, 124 pages, 40 pages, 62 pages and 152 pages respectively, the Judge said, "Such a lengthy cross-examination of the witnesses prove that they were put on trial and accused was not facing trial."

The court did not find any merit with the contention of Rathore that he was a victim of media trial.

"The objection raised by the learned defence counsel that convict is a victim of media trial is without any basis. Learned trial court has rightly held that court has concern with the facts and circumstances which are available on record only and court is not concerned with the report of any agency about the accused or the victim. So I am of the view that courts are only bound by law and its own judicial conscience.

"Till today, media cannot influence the decision making process. Indian courts and Indian judicial system is very strong. If media is able to influence the judgements of the Indian courts then there cannot be independence of judiciary," the Judge said, adding the courts work on the basis of legal evidence available on record.

The Judge said that nobody should apprehend that the media trial can influence the decision of the courts. "For awarding sentence the court is to take into consideration totality of facts," the court said.

The Court also noted that Ruchika's brother Ashu was arrested in various cases of theft but he was discharged in all the cases of theft. "Since CBI did not collect any evidence as to why he was implicated in theft cases and what was the reason for his discharge and at whose instance he was arrested or implicated in the cases so no comments can be made on this contention of the learned counsel for the complainant and CBI."

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