Justice- Recused

CHANDIGARH: Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore’s conviction in the 1990 teen molestation case came after 19 years, however final hearing is far from near as yet another Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Tuesday, recused itself from hearing the matter. For the fifth time in the last three months the case has been referred to some other bench as all benches have recused themselves from hearing a PIL seeking direction to take action against those officials who sided with Mr Rathore and prolonged the case for almost 20 years.

A special CBI court had convicted Mr Rathore for molesting a teenage girl in 1990, who committed suicide in 1993, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. On Tuesday the bench of Justice SK Mittal and Justice Arvind Kumar referred the matter to some other Bench, after obtaining orders from the high court Chief Justice. The petition will now come up before a Bench in which Justice Mittal is not a part. Earlier on 28th July, the matter was placed before the Bench of Justice Mittal and Justice AN Jindal. But it was referred to some other Bench, after Justice Jindal recused himself.

Prior to that, on 7th July, Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice Gurdev Singh had issued similar orders. Before that, on May 13, the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice AN Jindal had also recused itself. The Bench of Chief Justice and Justice Surya Kant had refused to hear the matter before that.

The public interest litigation(PIL) filed by an NGO World Human Rights Council had sought an independent probe in the case from the date of her molestation and also for action against officers who sided with SPS Rathore and enabled the trial to continue for over 19 years. After conviction Mr Rathore filed a plea against the decision which was opposed by the CBI, rejecting Rathore’s appeal against his conviction, the Chandigarh District Court, on 25th May, 2009 sentenced him to one and a half years of rigorous imprisonment. However, in November 2010, the Supreme Court granted bail to Mr Rathore on the condition that he should not leave Chandigarh. (Eom)

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