Acting on the Punjab police's barbaric assault of a woman in Tarn Taran on March 3 and later pressurizing the petitioners to withdraw the complaint, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday ordered immediate transfer of seven cops involved in the incident.
The petition filed by the victim and her relatives, came for the hearing before the bench headed by justice Ranjit Singh, that while issuing notice directed the state government to file its reply to the court on Tuesday.
Justice Ranjit Singh directed the inspector general (IG) of police, Amritsar range to provide protection to the petitioners on Monday and directed the state counsel.
In the meantime, the court ordered the inspector general of Chandigarh to provide adequate security to the petitioners for a day who shall remain with them till Tuesday.
Inspector General (IG) of Amritsar range has also been directed to ensure that any police officer does not approach the petitioners for "any purpose whatsoever".
Those who have been directed to be transferred out of Tarn Taran district within 24 hours include assistant sub-inspector Narinder Singh, head constable Ashwani Kumar and Paramjit Singh of police station city Tarn Taran. Others include head constables Harjinder Singh and Davinder Kumar; Tarsem Singh and Gurdeep Raj.
Justice Singh ordered, "The police cannot be permitted to act in this high handed way. Once the Supreme Court has taken notice of the incident, the action by the police is interference in the cause of justice."
The order further read, "First the police have acted in this barbaric manner. Now they have made the life of the petitioners miserable."
The court observed, "Since the allegations are being made against the SSP Tarn Taran who is alleged to have made an offer of Rs. 5 lakh to compromise the case, it would be appropriate to issue direction to some senior officer to ensure protection and the compliance of those order…"
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate GS Sidhu pleaded probe by an independent agency, providing protection to them while stating that they were being threatened and pressurized to withdraw the complaint and action against cops for blatant violation of human rights and outraging modesty of woman in full public view.
Harbrinder was present in the court on Monday with her father and relatives.
The court said that since the Supreme Court had taken prima facie notice of the incident, "the reaction by the police would be to pressurize the petitioners to succumb and compromise which the police then would wish to place before the Supreme Court to get out of this tight situation."
If the court orders are not followed, the high court made it clear that the IG of Amritsar range would have to give explanation in the court.