Supreme Court today upheld the conviction of former Haryana DGP S P S Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case but reduced the 18 month jail term awarded to him to around six months already undergone by him in custody, keeping in view his advanced age as a "special case".
75-year-old Rathore, who was granted bail in 2010, escaped with around 12 months of incarceration, even as the apex court affirmed the finding about his guilt.
The retired IPS officer had challenged the 2010 judgement passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had upheld the conviction and 18-month sentence awarded by the trial court for molesting 15-year-old Ruchika Girhotra, who had committed suicide in December 1993.
The apex court bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and R K Agrawal said that considering his old age, "we do not think it expedient to put him back in jail".
"While we uphold the findings as to the guilt of Rathore, we are of the opinion that the cause of justice would be best sub-served when the sentence of the appellant-accused would be altered to the period already undergone.
"We, therefore, reduce the sentence of the appellant to the period already undergone by him as a special case considering his very advanced age," the bench said.
In its verdict, the court said "in the normal course of human conduct, this unmarried minor girl, would not like to give publicity to the traumatic experience she has undergone and felt terribly embarrassed in relation to the incident to narrate it to her parents and others, overpowered by a feeling of shame, and her natural inclination would be to avoid talking about it to anyone, lest the family name and honour is brought into controversy."
"In a tradition-bound non-permissive society in India, it would be extremely reluctant to admit that any incident which is likely to reflect upon chastity of a woman had occurred, being conscious of the danger of being ostracised by the society or being looked down by the society," it said.
While dealing with the case, the bench expressed concern over the "devastating increase" in cases relating to crime against women in the world and said "our country is also no exception to it.
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