The All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has welcomed the court verdict in the molestation case involving the former Haryana Director-General of Police, S.P.S. Rathore.
In a statement here on Tuesday, AIDWA said the enhancement of the sentence to one-and-a-half years of imprisonment was not enough and Mr. Rathore should have been awarded the maximum sentence under Section 354 Indian Penal Code, which was two years.
“The award of one-and-a-half years of imprisonment shows that the court does not view sexual assault as a serious crime even when it is committed against a minor by a person in an obvious position of authority. The court should have considered the fact that the child was in a particularly vulnerable situation in the presence of an important police officer who took advantage of his position, it said.
AIDWA has also been consistently highlighting the need for a complete overhaul and reform of the law relating to sexual assault so that molestation can be redefined and harsher punishments can be awarded for it. “Sexual assault should also be considered to be a more grievous crime when it is committed against minors,” the statement said.
“The case further highlights deep infirmities in our criminal justice system which needs to be urgently addressed. The fact that no FIR was lodged for six years and that the victim and her family were consistently harassed and false cases lodged against them shows how easy it is for those in power to manipulate the law. Deliberate action and inaction by the police should be made punishable with appropriately strong sentences and fines. Sensitisation of the judiciary to the manner in which women and girls experience sexual assaults is also important,” the statement said.
“The verdict, however, is important as it shows how ordinary men and women can fight for justice against all odds. AIDWA hails the courage of the victim's family and her friend Aradhana and her family in fighting the long and often bitter battle for justice. It also demands that charges be filed in all the other cases against Mr. Rathore under Section 306 of the IPC for abetment to suicide etc. expeditiously.”