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Rathore an example of fence eating the crop: Moily

Terming disgraced Haryana police officer S P S Rathore as an example of "fence eating the crop", Veerappa Moily today stressed on the need to tighten laws to ensure that cases relating to sexual crimes are fast tracked.



New Delhi: Terming disgraced Haryana police
officer S P S Rathore as an example of "fence eating the
crop", Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today stressed on the
need to tighten laws to ensure that cases relating to sexual
crimes are fast tracked.

"The enhanced punishment handed down to Rathore would
send a clear cut message that use of power and authority to
commit a crime would not go unpunished," Moily said here.

He said the misuse of authority by Rathore was an example
of "fence eating the crop...fence cannot eat the crop," he
said.

A Sessions Court today enhanced the jail term of Rathore
from six months to one-and-a-half years for molesting
14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra 20 years back following which the
former top policeman was arrested by the CBI.

Moily said the punishment would "drive fear" in the mind
of the people that if they commit such a crime, they will meet
the same fate.

To a question on whether the enhanced punishment of 18
months was "enough", he said it was upto the CBI to decide.
"It is not for me to judge (whether the punishment was
enough...the judge has enhanced the punishment," he said.

Terming the "long delay" in punishing Rathore as
"unfortunate", he said the Legislative department of the Law
Ministry has drafted several laws to ensure that such cases
reach a logical conclusion faster.

"The delay is unfortunate. In future we want to overcome
this as delay helps accused to win over witnesses...the
evidence also disappears," he said.

He said his Ministry has drafted laws on sexual offences
related to children, teenagers and women and even proposed
amending the Evidence Act. "The draft laws suggest quick
investigation and fast tracking of cases...It (case) should be
over within one year," he said.

Taking a lesson from the Ruchika case, the government
is considering making molestation a non-bailable, cognisable
offence in which the accused can be arrested on the basis of a
complaint.

According to the draft of the proposed Sexual Crimes
(Special Courts) Bill, 2010, the Law Ministry has proposed
making molestation a cognisable and non-bailable offence.

So far, a person accused of molestation under Section
354 of the Indian Penal Code could be granted bail as the
maximum punishment stipulated is less than three years.

"According to the draft, a person cannot be released on
bail unless the public prosecutor is given a chance to oppose
the bail plea," a senior Law Ministry official said.

"In other words, a judge cannot deliver an ex-parte
judgement," he added. He said the details are being worked
out.

PTI

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