Sad day for a country governed by rule of law: HC on Patiala suicide

Takes suo motu notice, seeks report from police

Two days after a victim of a gangrape committed suicide in Patiala alleging police inaction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognizance of the incident and sought a status report from Punjab Police.

Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri on Friday directed the Inspector General of Police, Patiala, to file the report stating reasons for delay in police action on victim's complaint and the action taken against the policemen responsible for such delay.

The court, which fixed January 8 as the next date of hearing, also sought to know in the status report the measures the police plans to take to prevent such occurrences in future.

"The instance in question depicts a very sordid state of affairs wherein the victim of rape was not only harassed by the policemen as per the newspaper reports, but was also constantly threatened by her alleged rapists. Compelled by these adverse circumstances and filled with indignation, this girl of 17 years of age thought that the only course of action left was to end her life", the chief justice said, adding that victim left a suicide note blaming three men and one woman "for destroying her life."

He also slammed the police for inaction for not registering a case and not arresting the accused.

"Repeated requests of the victim and her mother had no effect on the policemen who remained deaf and on contrary kept on harassing the victim and her family members by asking them awkward questions and passing vulgar remarks... It is a sad day for a country governed by rule of law", he added.

The Chief Justice said that Delhi has already acquired dubious distinction with infamous label "rape capital of the country". "Irony is that this state of affair is not confined to Delhi alone and situation in Punjab is also far from satisfactory," he said, while issuing notices to Chandigarh Administration and Haryana also.

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