They are facing charges of raping tribal women

The Madras High Court has declined to revoke the orders imposed on five policemen who were placed under suspension on charges of raping tribal women near Thirukovilur, Villupuram district, in November 2011.

Dismissing their petition, Justice K. Chandru said since the petitioners were accused of committing serious offences on the women who belonged to Scheduled Tribes, and the police were investigating the case, the court was not inclined to interfere with the suspension orders.

On November 28, 2011, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Villupuram Range, suspended R. Srinivasan, Inspector of Police, R. Ramanathan, Special Sub-Inspector of Police, and three police constables R. Dhansekaran, R. Bakthavatchalam and Karthikeyan attached to the Thirukovilur station.

They jointly filed the petition challenging the suspension and seeking their .

In the individual orders issued to them, it alleged that they had detained the four women of T. Mandapam village, Thirukoilur taluk, on the night of November 22, 2011 and violated the law and spoiled the image of the police force. It further stated that a criminal case was registered against them in Thirukovilur police station under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, including Section 376 of IPC (punishment for rape).

Pursuant to the investigation, the petitioners said a crime scene observation report was obtained from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Villupuram, on December 3, 2011 and an expert opinion was provided by the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Madras Medical College.

Citing reports of the Forensic Science Laboratory and the Institute, they claimed that there was no evidence of forceful physical restraint. There were no bodily injuries on the women, such as abrasions, contusions or lacerations in any stage of healing. There was no laboratory evidence of sexual intercourse.

Dismissing the case, Mr. Justice Chandru also wondered: “It is not known as to how the petitioners obtained the copy of the reports.”

He also pointed out that the reports would not help the petitioners at this stage, unless the police filed a final report before the trial court. At maximum, they could make use of the reports as defence and that question had to be decided by the trial court.

Mr. Justice Chandru said the highest authority was entitled to suspend a person, who was working as a subordinate police officer. The fact that no charge memo was issued could not improve the case of the petitioners, as the suspension had been made since the criminal case had been launched against them, he added.

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