SC for harsher punishment to cops who chopped of man's private parts

New Delhi: Observing that policemen should be given harsher punishment for criminal acts, the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on CBI's plea for enhancing the punishment to three policemen who chopped of a man's private parts.

A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur said policemen need to be given a harsher punishment as otherwise the entire society will crumble and there will be utter lawlessness.

"You are policemen and supposed to be the protector of the people. So, you have to be given harsher punishment for your crime as otherwise the entire society will crumble and lawlessness will prevail.

"As human beings, we ought to have self control. Otherwise, what is the difference between human beings and animals?" the Bench told senior counsel K T S Tulsi and Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for the accused police personnel.

CBI said that in 1994 SHO Sohan Singh, ASI Sumer Dhan and constable Kishore Singh took the victim Jugat Ram, an employee with a businessman, to the police station and chopped off his penis after subjecting him to torture in Rajasthan's Barmer district.

The trial court awarded life imprisonment to all the three policemen under Section 326 IPC(causing grievous hurt).

However, on an appeal from the accused, the Rajasthan High Court acquitted Sumer Dhan and Sohan Singh on the ground that there was no evidence against them, while reducing the sentence of Kishore Singh to four years.

Aggrieved by the High Court order, CBI has appealed in the apex court.

The police personnel it was alleged, committed the gruesome act at the instance of the employer Bhairav Singh, a relative of Kishore Singh, as the victim had developed illicit relationship with the latter's wife and daughter.

The Bench rejected the argument of the counsel that there was no evidence in the form of an independent witness to establish their guilt.

"You are all policemen. You have chopped of the penis of a man after bringing him into the police station. How do you expect some independent witness to speak against you policemen? And mind you, it was chopped off with the help of a barber's razor. So, do you(cops) carry barber's knives in the police station too?" the Bench said as the entire court hall burst into a laughter.

The apex court brushed the plea of Tulsi that the act was committed under a grave and suddent provocation.

"You took the man into custody for three days, extracted the confession that he was having the illicit affair and then chopped off his penis. How can it be a case of grave provocation?

"We can understand if the man had shot dead the victim, if he had found his spouse in a compromising position. But that was not the case here," the Bench said.

Counsel for the accused pleaded that the act was committed as one of the policemen was related to Bhairav Singh and it was a question of maintaining the family honour and erase social stigma.

It was also submitted that the victim had, during the trial, also admitted to the illicit relationship with his employer's wife and daughter.

"Just because you are policemen, you can't do like this. Today, you will chop somebody's penis, tomorrow you will chop off someone's head. You can go to any extent. There has to be a strong and deterrent punishment," the Bench said while reserving its judgement.