The Punjab and Haryana High Court pulled up the Haryana government on Wednesday for not submitting its reply to a public interest petition on the Ruchika Girhotra case.
The court was unhappy with the response of the Haryana state counsel, who told the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh, that Haryana Chief Secretary Urvashi Gulati had asked him for two months to file the reply.
The Chandigarh-based World Human Rights Council, in a public interest petition filed earlier this month, had sought court direction for an independent probe in the Ruchika case.
Ruchika was molested by former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore in 1990, and she committed suicide in 1993. A Central Bureau of Investigation court convicted Rathore in December.
The petitioner had sought action against officers who aided Rathore in the matter.
Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal said it was the chief secretary who functioned under the orders of the court, not the other way round.
“(Is) there a mammoth number of cases that preparing a reply requires two months,” the Chief Justice asked.
He said that the government was supposed to explain how Rathore was promoted despite a case pending against him.
“In the case of a constable, even if a complaint is pending, his promotion is held up,” the chief justice said, directing the state counsel to file the reply by the next date -- February 4.
In an application filed before the court, Rathore’s wife and counsel, Abha Rathore, pleaded for disposing of the petition before February 8, when the appeal against the conviction of the former cop will be made before the additional district and sessions judge, Chandigarh. Alternatively, she pleaded for deferring the hearing on the appeal till the petition was disposed of.