The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday said a Sonepat court judge conducting trial in the case of alleged gangrapes during the February 2016 Jat quota stir in Murthal is being “pressurised”.
As the hearing in suo motu petition on the February 2016 violence began on Tuesday morning, the high court bench of justice SS Saron and justice Darshan Singh stunned all with the observations that the court had been told of the trial court judge, Gagan Geet Kaur, additional district and sessions judge, Sonepat being “pressurised”. The court did not name anybody nor elaborated on as to what was told to the judge.
“Don’t pressurise that poor lady… This case has proven to be a disaster for that girl,” said the high court bench.
Taken aback over the observation, Haryana’s additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta sought to know as to who was behind it and demanded that he should be called and taken to task.
“Nobody is above the law,” Mehta said demanding that if not the judicial side, the matter be taken up the administrative side by the high court.
The Haryana government constituted special investigation team headed by inspector general of police (IGP) Mamta Singh had registered an FIR of gang rape in April 2016. The section of gang rape was added against five youths arrested in other quota violence related FIRs. However, in September 2016, section of gang rape was dropped against them. All five are now out on bail.
Gagan Geet Kaur in her two reports to high court in 2016 had slammed the manner probe was being conducted by SIT and had termed it “eyewash”.
In her report the additional district and sessions judge had stated that before the charges were to be framed against the accused persons, the court found several shortcomings in the challan. Certain facts were “overlooked/ ignored intentionally deliberately and malafidely (sic)” by SIT. Section of gang rape was deleted only on the basis of a DNA report, without waiting for the CCTV footage report from the Central Forensic Lab and without making any sincere efforts to trace the prosecutrix, she had stated in the court.
Acting on her reports, the high court in the hearings conducted in December and January, had taken the SIT to task for not keeping it in the loop before dropping the charges and not presenting full picture before it. The proceedings in the FIR before trial court, has now been stayed by high court.
Mehta sought time from the high court to present fresh status report into the alleged Murthal gang rapes FIR. Although he did not elaborate on it during hearing, he claimed that there were certain fresh developments and the state would apprise about the same within ten days.