Anguished over the judgment in the case of molestation of a minor girl, the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday said it was exploring the possibility of challenging the verdict and even filing a suit for civil damages, to seek compensation for her family.
The Commission has also asked the Haryana government to file an appeal against the court ruling.
At a press conference here, NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said the Commission had written letters to the Chief Minister and Union Home and Law Ministers in this connection.
The NCW had decided to set up a committee of advocates to examine the sequence of events in the case, and establish if there was any attempt to scuttle or impede the probe by the former Haryana DGP, S.P.S. Rathore, who was convicted by a CBI court on Monday for molesting a minor girl. He was served a six-month jail sentence.
But the charges against him of intimidation and harassment of the girl’s family and of driving her to suicide were not covered during the probe, Ms. Vyas said.
The committee would also probe if efforts were made by the State administration to hush up the matter or derail investigations. It would submit a report within two months. Ms. Vyas said the panel was also exploring the possibility of challenging the judgment and filing a civil suit to claim damages for “mental, physical and economic” trauma caused to the family. The NCW had proposed a stronger Sexual Assault Bill. The Protection Against Sexual Harassment of Women Bill would widen the definition of sexual assault and provide for civil damages to the victims’ families. “Our efforts would be to ensure that the Bill is passed in the next session of Parliament to bring relief to women.”
The All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed shock and deep dismay at the manner in which the case was handled by the criminal justice system, and the trivialisation of the crime as reflected in the six-month sentence handed out to the former DGP.
“The case highlights the serious infirmities in our justice delivery system and in the sexual assault law relating to minors. It also shows how influential people can manipulate the system to deny justice,” it said.
“Mr. Rathore’s age cannot be a factor in mitigating the length of the punishment as he is not that old. It is ironic that though the delay is caused by the tactics of the accused, he was given the benefit of this very delay. The court should have considered the fact that this is a case in which a minor was molested and the molester was a supposed guardian of law.”