Rathore, the President’s medalist retired Director General of Police of Haryana and convicted molester of Ruchika, was shown getting out of the trial courts, after the delivery of sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, in most of the TV channels.
As a DGP he must have been aware of section 375 of the Indian Penal Code which defines rape and mentions: “sixthly- with or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age”. Ruchika was 14 years old when she was “MOLESTED”.
The crux of the issue is that for any offence in the IPC, unless ATTEMPT is made punishable in a charging section, there is no provision to charge a person for “ATTEMPT”. For example s. 307 is the charging section for Attempt to murder, s.309 is the charging section for Attempt to suicide, whereas there is no section “ATTEMPT TO RAPE”, therefore the police and the courts go with section 354, which is titled,”Assault or criminal force to woman with an intent to outrage her modesty”. The maximum punishment prescribed upon conviction is 2 years. Andhra Pradesh by an amendment to this section 354 of IPC, prescribed a minimum punishment of 5 years and a maximum of 7 years. No other state had recognized this lacuna and therefore that SMILE on the face of Rathore.
If Mr.Rathore had been convicted under section 354 IPC within the state of Andhra Pradesh, he would have received a higher sentence.
One might wonder if Mr.Rathore would have had a smirk on his face if he had been sentenced for 7 years instead of the 6 months awarded to him.
I remember a Thamizh poem written after the assassination of Mrs.Indira Gandhi thus, “IMAI IDHITHTHU KANN KURUDAAGIYADHU”, which when translated into English would mean, “The eyelids struck like lightning and blinded the eyes!” The very eyelids which were to protect the eyes from lightning, struck like lightning and blinded the eyes. How apt, in the context that the very same guards who were to protect the person of Mrs.G, assassinated her! Mr.Rathore’s ATTEMPT TO RAPE, is nothing short of what the assassins did. He being a police officer, should have protected Ruchika, instead he had molested her. Like the prescription of higher sentence to Prison Superintendents and Medical staff in hospitals for the offence of RAPE, any police officer when convicted of RAPE, should be inflicted with higher /exemplary punishment.
Hope Ruchika’s family gets Justice, despite the lacuna in our IPC.