Amid the widespread outrage over the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus, a Delhi court has pulled up police for seeking withdrawal "in public interest" a case of rape, lodged against a man by his landlady.
Lambasting the prosecution for its plea to withdraw the case, Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao ordered Delhi chief secretary to ascertain as to who recommended the withdrawal.
Accused Tarkeshwar Yadav and others had been charge sheeted by the police under section 376 (rape), 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life), 354 (criminal assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 506 (criminal intimidation) IPC on allegation that Yadav had attempted to rape his landlady whereas accused Shivaji and Vidya Sagar had robbed her.
During their attempt to rape the woman, the accused had also beaten up the victim and her sons who came to her rescue when she raised the alarm.
The prosecution, however, later told the court that no offence under section 376 and 511 IPC is made out and sought to withdraw the case "after being satisfied that the public interest will be served by withdrawal of the case from prosecution."
The judge, however, observed, "the prosecution has failed to answer as to which public good will be served by withdrawal of the prosecution."
"Rather with the withdrawal of the prosecution, a wrong message would definitely be conveyed to the society whereby public good itself would be compromised and thwarted."
"The chief secretary, Delhi is hereby called upon to hold a proper and discreet inquiry under intimation of this court and to take steps against anyone, whosoever it may be, who recommended this withdrawal," the ASJ said.
The court also took note of the correspondence between the Director of Prosecution and the Additional Public Prosecutor and noted that "the public prosecutor had agreed with APP's opinion that the case was not fit for withdrawal but it seems that the matter was subsequently discussed with the Director of Prosecution and it was opined that the case was fit for withdrawal."
"The application moved in these circumstances is also vitiated on the ground of extraneous force for moving the application and remote control seems to be in hands of someone in the establishment," the court rued.
The court also said "the application has been moved in utter disregard of the sacrosanct duty towards the society at a time when Delhi has become the rape capital because of the schizophrenic attitude of those who do not give any importance to human values and human rights of females in the society."
The police had sought withdrawal of the rape case saying it had arisen out of a dispute between the tenant and his landlady. The defence counsel also argued that their clients had been implicated in the matter.
The court, however, said, "The contention that it was a dispute between the landlord and the tenant, though given the shape of offences as alleged (rape) and the contention of accused persons having been falsely implicated in the case is a matter of trial and has no relevance with respect to public interest being served by withdrawal of the prosecution."