SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case

SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case
SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the conviction of an IPS officer in the sensational 2002 Bilkis Bano case.

A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta said that there is no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer has already undergone the sentence.

The bench, however, listed the matter for hearing in the second week of July, observing the fine is of Rs 15,000 only.

IPS officer R S Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, has been convicted along with four other policemen by the Bombay High Court recently after the trial court had acquitted them.

The counsel appearing for Bhagora said if the conviction is not stayed, then he will be terminated from the service as per service rules.

He said the court should grant stay on the conviction.

The Bombay High Court had on May 4 reversed the trial court verdict acquitting Bhagora and others and had upheld the conviction of 11 people (one convict is dead) in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.

Along with five policemen, two doctors were also convicted by the HC.

The High Court bench had said that the seven persons — doctors and the policemen– are convicted under sections 218 (not performing their duties) and section 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A special court had on 21 January, 2008 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bilkis and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots while acquitting seven persons including the policemen and doctors.

The convicts later approached the Bombay high court challenging their conviction and sought for the trial court’s order to be quashed and set aside.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the high court seeking harsher punishment of death for three of the convicted persons on the ground that they were the main perpetrators of the crime.

According to the prosecution, on 3 March, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots and seven members of her family were killed.

Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped while six other members of her family managed to escape from the mob. The trial in the case began in Ahmedabad.

However, after Bilkis expressed apprehensions that witnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence tampered, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.

The convicts had challenged the order on three main grounds that all evidence in the case was fabricated by CBI, that Bilkis gave birth to a child after the incident, thus, the same proved that she could not have been gang raped, and the failure to find the bodies of some of her family members proves that they were not killed.

( Source – PTI )

SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case

SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case
SC refuses to stay conviction of IPS officer in Bilkis case

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the conviction of an IPS officer in the sensational 2002 Bilkis Bano case.

A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta said that there is no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer has already undergone the sentence.

The bench, however, listed the matter for hearing in the second week of July, observing the fine is of Rs 15,000 only.

IPS officer R S Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, has been convicted along with four other policemen by the Bombay High Court recently after the trial court had acquitted them.

The counsel appearing for Bhagora said if the conviction is not stayed, then he will be terminated from the service as per service rules.

He said the court should grant stay on the conviction.

The Bombay High Court had on May 4 reversed the trial court verdict acquitting Bhagora and others and had upheld the conviction of 11 people (one convict is dead) in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.

Along with five policemen, two doctors were also convicted by the HC.

The High Court bench had said that the seven persons — doctors and the policemen– are convicted under sections 218 (not performing their duties) and section 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A special court had on 21 January, 2008 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bilkis and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots while acquitting seven persons including the policemen and doctors.

The convicts later approached the Bombay high court challenging their conviction and sought for the trial court’s order to be quashed and set aside.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the high court seeking harsher punishment of death for three of the convicted persons on the ground that they were the main perpetrators of the crime.

According to the prosecution, on 3 March, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots and seven members of her family were killed.

Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped while six other members of her family managed to escape from the mob. The trial in the case began in Ahmedabad.

However, after Bilkis expressed apprehensions that witnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence tampered, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.

The convicts had challenged the order on three main grounds that all evidence in the case was fabricated by CBI, that Bilkis gave birth to a child after the incident, thus, the same proved that she could not have been gang raped, and the failure to find the bodies of some of her family members proves that they were not killed.

( Source – PTI )

IPS officer’s arrest in sexual harassment case stayed

IPS officer's arrest in sexual harassment case stayed
IPS officer’s arrest in sexual harassment case stayed

A local court today stayed till April 29 the arrest of IPS officer Pushkar Anand who is facing charges of allgedly sexually harassing a woman Deputy Superintendent of Police.

District and Sessions Judge Arun Kumar gave the direction on a petition filed by Anand seeking anticipatory bail in the alleged sexual harassment case.

The court asked police to produce the case diary on the day.

Anand’s arrest had become imminent after Bihar Police headquarters gave the go-ahead to the authorities concerned for completing the investigation process in the case.

A three-member committee headed by IG(Weaker Section) found the allegations true and recommended departmental proceedings against the IPS officer. The report has been submitted to the state home department.

The woman DySP had lodged an FIR on December 29, 2014 against Pushkar Anand for allegedly sexually harassing her when he was posted in Kaimur. The woman officer was posted as DySP at Bhabhua, the district headquarters of Kaimur.

The DySP in her FIR, lodged with the woman police station, had alleged that Anand had sexually exploited her on the pretext of marrying her. She lodged the FIR after Pushkar refused to marry her on one pretext or another.

( Source – PTI )

Women activists urge president not to sign sexual crime ordinance

Women groups on Saturday urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign the ordinance of Criminal Law amendments passed by the Cabinet. Human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover said, “The ordinance is complete betrayal of the people’s faith.”

She also questioned as to why the ordinance remained silent on Armed s Special Powers Act. “Justice Verma Committee targeted the impunity of family, policemen, Army officers, and a bureaucrats. But the government went soft on that. Why are the recommendations on AFSPA not accepted. It’s completely scandalous what the government has done.”

She also said that women organisations were alarmed to see the ordinance as it ignored many recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. “We are alarmed by the ordinance content. We do not see any recommendation of the Verma Committee in the ordinance,” Vrinda Grover said. “The ordinance is a trick to sideline Justice Verma report,” she added.

The opposition BJP and Left too have joined the activists in saying the ordinance is not tough enough. While the government claims it has accepted most of recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee on punishing sex offenders, it has not included proposals like changing rules for the armed forces under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The ordinance has also left out recognition of marital rape as a crime.

“We’ve accepted almost all the recommendations. The Central Government is committed to giving stringent punishment to the culprits. We’ve included acid attacks and stalking in the definition of sexual crimes against women. We feel that this will send out a strong message,” Union Minister Krishna Tirath told.

CPM leader Brinda Karat said the government has ignored the main recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. “We do not approve of this ordinance. The ordinance has ignored the main recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. The ordinance is an attempt to divert attention from the main questions being raised in the Justice Verma Committee report,” Karat said. Women groups have also called the ordinance a dilution of the Verma panel recommendations.

Meanwhile, former IPS officer and activist Kiran Bedi welcomed the passing of this ordinance calling it the beginning of a long journey. “I think the people demand a holistic response, it is a very part law response. Very well, it’s a beginning made, but it’s still a long way to go, as the Justice Verma recommendations are a holistic correction,” Bedi said.

Just days after the Justice Verma Committee made its recommendations to amend laws relating to sexual assault, the Cabinet has passed an ordinance. The punishment for rape could range from 20 years to even death in extreme cases. “The UPA government has responded to the sensitivities of the people,” Law Minister Ashwini Kumar said. The Cabinet met at a short notice to approve the ordinance just to prove this point.

It has faced criticism on inability to feel the pulse of the people in the street protests and also Justice JS Verma. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were keen on a damage control.

The ordinance accepts most of the suggestions of Justice Verma Committee report. According to the ordinance, the punishment for rape can go up to 20 years in jail. A death sentence can also be given in extreme cases, which includes permanent body damage to a woman. The word ‘rape’ will now be called ‘sexual assault’. Sexual crime means unfavourable portrayal of women, stalking, women trafficking and acid attacks.

But the ordinance remains silent on marital rape. It also remains silent on another recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee, that is, changes in AFSPA. The Cabinet has also not accepted that politicians who face charges of sexual abuse should be debarred. The Cabinet is waiting for a consensus on this. The government now hopes to make more changes once the ordinance is referred to Parliament for approval.

 

PTI

CBI summons IPS officer Johri in Sohrabuddin case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday summoned Geetha Johri, the first woman IPS officer of Gujarat, in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Johri, who was the part of Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case, has been asked to appear before the CBI on August 10.

The CBI had already questioned Johri twice before.

According to television reports, the line of questioning to Johri will be based on the allegations made by Vasant Solanki, the investigating officer of the case.

Earlier, the CBI has also summoned former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) P C Pandey and asked him to appear before it on August 11.

Pandey was DGP of Gujarat when the state CID was investigating the fake encounter case.

This is for the first time Pandey has been called for questioning by the CBI. It had earlier called other IPS officers, including G C Raigar and O P Mathur.

Meanwhile, the CBI team is likely to seek permission from its headquarters to question Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the case.

The investigating agency may want Modi to answer some questions in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

The CBI wants to know if Modi was aware of the attempts being made by top police officials to scuttle the probe.

If Modi is summoned for questioning, it will be for the second time this year. He was earlier questioned by a Special Investigation Team in 2002 Gujarat riots case.

Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2005