The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation on a special leave petition filed by the former Haryana police chief, S.P.S. Rathore, challenging his conviction and 18 months imprisonment in a molestation case involving a minor girl.
A Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan issued notice after hearing senior counsel Uday Lalit appearing for the appellant.
He contended that the complaint purportedly signed by the victim girl, who later committed suicide, was not evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Mr. Rathore was initially awarded six months imprisonment by a trial court, which was subsequently enhanced to 18 months by the Sessions Court on the CBI's appeal seeking enhancement of the punishment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court declined to interfere with the Sessions Court's ruling.
In his appeal against the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict holding him guilty, Mr. Rathore contended that the complaint submitted to the then Haryana Chief Minister in 1993, purportedly signed by the victim, had no evidentiary value.
He pointed out that the Chief Minister had ordered a fact finding enquiry headed by senior police officer R.R. Singh. Counsel said that though the incident occurred in 1990, the case was registered only in 1997 after the fact-finding body submitted its report. He also disputed the veracity of the girl's letter.
Justice Sathasivam pointed out: “You have to keep in mind that the trial court, the sessions court and the High Court in revision have analysed the entire material in detail and recorded the findings against you.” When Justice Chauhan wanted to know whether the fact finding report could not be taken as a preliminary enquiry, counsel said that under the Cr.P.C, preliminary enquiry could be conducted only after registration of the case.
The Bench directed the matter to be listed after the service of notice to the CBI was completed.