Former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore, undergoing an 18-month jail sentence in a molestation case, will remain behind bars till this month-end as the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday denied him relief saying that he had been found guilty of an “odious offence”.
Vacation judge Justice Ajay Tewari fixed June 29 for hearing, before an “appropriate” bench, the revision petition filed by the 68-year-old Rathore for suspension of the sentence and his bail plea.
The judge noted that normally where the sentence is up to three years, bail should be granted liberally since long pendency of the appeal/revision may result in the convict having to complete the jail term.
“In a case like the present, where the accused has been found guilty of a particularly odious offence, this rule can be departed from,” the judge observed.
He, however, held that in order to safeguard the right of the accused, hearing on the main petition must be expedited. With the judge fixing June 29 for hearing arguments on the revision petition filed on Rathore’s behalf by his lawyer-wife Abha, the former top cop will have to remain behind bars as his bail plea is also pending.
The judge admitted the revision petition of Rathore for suspension of sentence but held that “even though a detailed analysis of the merits is not necessary yet a broad brush overview of the facts would be required for the purpose of deciding an application under section 389/397 CrPC (for suspension of sentence in a revision petition, release of appellant on bail).”
Hours after the 15-page court order, Ms. Abha Rathore, in a last ditch effort to secure the release of her husband on bail, submitted that he was unwell but the court categorically told her that the matter has been fixed for June 29.