The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure as the Haryana government failed to file its reply in time in connection with a public suit filed by a human rights activist in the molestation case of teenager Ruchika Girhotra.
In the public interest litigation (PIL) filed Dec 29, Ranjan Lakhanpal, who is also a senior lawyer, had sought that former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore be charged under Section 305 (abetment of suicide of a minor) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) since he allegedly drove teenager Ruchika to suicide in 1993.
Rathore was convicted Dec 21 by a CBI special court in Chandigarh for molesting budding tennis player Ruchika August 12, 1990, in Haryana's Panchkula town, 10 km from Chandigarh. He was awarded a six-month jail term but he was immediately granted bail.
During the last hearing Jan 7, the court had issued notices to the Haryana government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and told them to submit their reply on Lakhanpal's petition in 10 days.
However, the Haryana government's lawyer sought two months' time from the court on Wednesday to submit their reply.
On this, the high court bench consisting of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh pulled up the state government and expressed displeasure.
The matter will be heard by the high court February 4.
However, the CBI filed its reply in connection with this PIL.
"In our reply we have given a detailed account of the CBI's investigation so far. Like we said, the CBI registered the case in 2000 and then we also mentioned about the court's proceedings and our probe in our reply," Ajay Kaushik, the CBI's lawyer, told IANS.
Abha Rathore, counsel and wife of the former Haryana police chief, also filed an application in the same court on Wednesday, appealing to settle this PIL before Feb 8 as the hearing challenging Rathore's six-month punishment is scheduled in a local court in Chandigarh on the same day.