Expressing a deep concern over the incident where an 18 year old girl committed suicide after police inaction following her rape in Patiala, Justice AK Sikri, the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken a suo motu cognizance of the incident.
In the order, Justice Sikri has asked the concerned IG to file a detailed report of the incident and subsequent action taken against erring police officials.
Taking the notice of news report about the said incident where a minor girl was subjected to rape and then harassed by policemen when she approached them for lodging a FIR, which led to her suicide, Justice Sikri has stated that the incident depicted a very sordid state of affairs. The orders stated that as per news reports, the victim of rape was not only harassed by the policemen but was also constantly threatened by alleged rapists.
Due to these extreme circumstances the girl thought that the only course of action left was to end her life, blaming three men and a woman for destroying her life. Stating that "enough is enough", the orders further stated "the manner in which events are taking place in the last few days are eye opener.
In a situation like this case, the alleged rapist were not only roaming freely but were allowed to reportedly threaten the victim and her family members, and her and her mother's requests had no effect on policemen who remained deaf, quoting the news reports, the orders observed.
Observing " when the police starts shielding and protecting the culprits and start treating the victims of the crimes as accused persons, it is a sad day for democracy of a country governed by rule of law", the chief justice held that the high court was compelled to take suo moto notice of such reports.
In his order, Justice Sikri directed the Patiala IG to submit a report of the incident after examining each aspect, leading to the suicide of the victim. The court also directed the IG to file a report, fixing the responsibility of erring officials, stating the action taken against them.
Referring to the incidents of rape in Delhi, the orders further stated that there is a need for combating this rape culture by reforming various institutions. The law for punishing such crimes appears to be on statue book, it is lack of adequate and enforcement system which also contributes to repeated commission of such crimes, Justice Sikri observed.
The chief justice stressed on the need for complete revamp and strengthening the criminal justice system and also observed that one of the reason for upsurge of such crimes was lack of deterrence and a feeling in the minds of such criminals that law will not be able to catch them and in any case even if trial takes place, they would go unpunished.
In This process, the first and the foremost importance lies with the investigation of such crimes as and when reported, the orders observed.
The chief justice has also sought a report stating the measures police intended to take, for preventing these occurrences in future. A notice in this regard has also been issued to Haryana government and Chandigarh authorities for January 8.