Chandigarh, December 28
“Enough is enough”, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asserted, while taking suo-motu cognizance of news reports on suicide by a minor over alleged harassment by the police after rape.
In a scathing indictment of the Punjab Police, the Chief Justice went on say: “The manner in which incidents have happened over the past few days is an eye-opener. Enough is enough…. The primary function, nay, the solemn duty of the police is to protect the citizens and track down crimes. However, when the police starts shielding and protecting the culprits and starts treating the victims of crime as accused persons, it is a sad day for the democracy of a country governed by the rules of law.”
Chief Justice Sikri issued notice to Punjab and Haryana along with Chandigarh, directing the authorities concerned to fix responsibility on erring officers before coming out with a detailed report on the incident and circumstances leading to the suicide.
The Chief Justice said the incident depicted a “very sordid sate of affairs”. The victim of rape was not only “harassed by policemen”, but also continuously threatened by the alleged rapists, he observed.
Compelled by “these adverse circumstances and filled with indignation, the minor girl thought the only course of action left was to end her life”.
The Chief Justice added: “Woman rights are human rights”, but in the present case the alleged rapists were “only not arrested, but were allowed to reportedly threaten the victim, as well as her family members. They were allowed to roam freely, and the repeated requests of the victim and her mother had no effect on policemen who remained deaf. On the contrary, they kept harassing the victim and her family by asking awkward questions and passing vulgar remarks, whenever the victim visited the police station”.
In his two-page order, the Chief Justice asserted: “Delhi has already acquired the dubious distinction of being labelled the ‘rape capital’ of the country. Irony is that the state of affairs is not confined to Delhi alone and the situation in Punjab is also far from satisfactory. There is not only an upsurge in general crimes against women, but also heinous and ghastly crimes like rape in the state.
“There is also a need for combating this rape culture by reforming various other institutions. Law for punishing such crimes appears on the statute book. It is the lack of adequate and enforcement system that also contributes to repeated commission of such offences. There is a need for proper law and order machinery in preventing such occurrences. In order to curb such criminality, criminal justice system also required to be revamped and strengthened.”
Notice to Punjab, Haryana
Punjab and Haryana High Court issues notice to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh
Directs authorities to fix responsibility on erring officers before filing a detailed report on the incident
Justice Sikri draws a parallel between the law and order situation in Delhi and Punjab