It is really shocking that the government machinery and the custodians of law slept for almost two decades while the former DGP of Haryana, S.P.S. Rathore, enjoyed power. The government should act in the interest of justice that has been delayed in the case of the 14-year-old victim of molestation. Crime against women and young girls deserves a more stringent punishment, not a few months of imprisonment. For the welfare of society, punishment should be commensurate with the crime committed.
The sentencing of Rathore to six months in prison 19 years after the crime was committed is a pointer to what ails our criminal justice system. The slow judicial process, along with a corrupt police and bureaucracy, makes the journey on the road to justice arduous. While one can appreciate the indomitable spirit displayed by the victim, her family and friends to secure justice, the fact remains that the victim died during the course of the trial, owing to humiliation and harassment from the accused who, as of now, has got away lightly. Reforming the criminal justice system is the need of the hour.
A high-ranking police officer — who molested a 14-year-old, tortured her family and led her to commit suicide — has been sentenced to just six months in prison. Is it not injustice to the victim, her brother who lost his childhood and her father whose family was ruined by a corrupt system?
Whether or not Rathore gets a severe punishment, his life is unlikely to be affected. It is well known that high-profile and influential people enjoy a good lifestyle even in jails. The molestation case has been politicised by Haryana’s politicians. Police and politicians are blaming one another for the long delay. Like Shopian and many other cases, this case too will suffer delays because of corruption and inefficiency in all spheres.
Most of those criticising the criminal justice system in the case of the 14-year-old miss the woods for the trees. There is no denying that the justice delivery mechanism is far from satisfactory in our country. But the main cause for this is police. In the case of the young victim, the accused received unintended or intended benefit of the doubt while charges were slapped on him under less serious sections of the IPC. The court delivers justice only on the basis of the proceedings before it, not on the basis of assumptions and media reports.