Vibha Sharma and R.Sedhuraman , Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 25
Describing as “unpardonable” the long period of 19 years taken for the trial in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said there was need for revisiting the case which continued to evoke strong reactions from politicians, including former Haryana Chief Minister OP Chautala, and bureaucrats.
Acknowledging that the case had not been handled well, Moily told reporters that whoever was responsible for this should be dealt with appropriately. “A case of this nature needs to be revisited” by following the due process of law and without allowing any interference by vested interests.
The Law Minister said he had asked Attorney General of India GE Vahanvati to discuss the case with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ashwini Kumar and come out with suggestions on the future course of action.
Ruchika was 14 years old when she was molested on August 12, 1990 by the then Inspector General of Police SPS Rathore who subsequently became Haryana police chief. The teenager committed suicide three years later. The CBI court which tried the case sentenced him for six months and slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 on the charges of molestation, but acquitted him of the charge of abetment to suicide. The court also granted him bail to enable him appeal against the conviction.
Ruchika’s father Subhash Girhotra had blamed Chautala for protecting Rathore by ensuring that no action was taken against him.
Rejecting this charge, INLD chief Chautala said Bansi Lal was Chief Minister when Rathore was promoted. In fact, his government was instrumental in chargesheeting Rathore, he said. However, according to top Haryana officers, Rathore got all his promotions on time between 1990 and 2002 and all those who were chief ministers during this period should share the blame.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari came down heavily on Chautala for defending himself, stating that the former CM “should be ashamed of himself” for his “insensitive and callous” attitude towards the issue on which the entire nation was agitated.
It was “extremely unfortunate” that instead of apologising to Ruchika’s family for his inaction, advertently or inadvertently, Chautala had attempted to politicise the tragedy which had many implications and highlighted the deficiencies in the system, Tewari said.
“It demonstrates the insensitivity inherent in his politics and deserves to be condemned by all right thinking people,” the Congress leader said.
Asked whether Rathore should be stripped off his police medals and denied pension in view of his conviction, Tewari said the cop should immediately face all the logical consequences.
PTI adds: With the Ruchika molestation case causing an uproar, Moily today said the government has decided to “fast-track” cases relating to women, including those involving rape, molestation and dowry. “At the National Consultation on Judicial Reforms held recently, the government and the judiciary have decided to prioritise and classify cases related to women, children and the disabled…classification is an important component of the programme,” Moily said here. He said classification and prioritisation would ensure that such cases are “fast-tracked” in courts. He said a “blueprint” on legal reforms approved by the Union Cabinet has mentioned classification of cases for early disposal.
“Otherwise also, cases pending for 15 years or more will be reduced to 3 years and that will be achievable from here within 3 years. All cases pending in courts after January 1, 2010 will be treated as arrears,” the Minister said adding, a policy could be announced in a fortnight.
To a question on the delay in delivery of justice in the Ruchika molestation case, Moily termed it as “atrocious”. “Ruchika’s case is atrocious,” he said.
Noting that the Ruchika case was “telling” upon and reflecting upon the judiciary itself, Moily said: “That is why we are interested in it”. Asked whether there was a possibility of reopening the case, Moily said the matter will be looked into and he had a discussion with the Solicitor General of India and the CBI also.