Under mounting public pressure, the government and the CBI appear to be playing to the gallery in the molestation and suicide case of teenager Ruchika Girhotra.
The combined move by the Centre, Haryana government and the CBI to slap charges of abetment to suicide against former Haryana police chief S.P.S Rathore, held guilty of molesting Ruchira in 1990, is not new.
A previous attempt to book Rathore for having forced Ruchika to end her life failed in 2002, following the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court having ruled against the charge.
Legal experts say it may be difficult for the government’s latest “populist move” to stand scrutiny of the law.
The CBI, which investigated the case in 1997, did not at that time, charge Rathore for driving Ruchika to suicide. The agency now wants this charge to be slapped on Rathore.
It was Madhu Prakash, the mother of Ruchika’s friend, Aradhana, who moved an application in the trial court hearing the molestation case against Rathore, to try him under abetment to suicide also. “This application was allowed by the court and proceedings started for commitment of the case,” says the December 21 judgment by a Chandigarh court, which sentenced Rathore for six months.
“But a Criminal Revision was filed by accused (Rathore) in the High Court of Punjab & Haryana. Revision was accepted. Thereafter, accused was tried for the offence of molestation,” said the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
The SC had also dismissed Madhu Prakash’s appeal against the High Court order declining the slapping of abetment to suicide charge against Rathore.