State, CBI can demand reopening of Ruchika case, say legal experts

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Updated: Dec 30 2009, 04:54am hrs
Not only Ruchikas family, but the state of Haryana can also demand the re-opening of the case to add abetment to suicide charges against SPS Rathore, former Director General of Police (DGP) Haryana who has recently been held guilty of molesting Ruchika, say legal experts.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can also move the court, demanding re-opening of the case despite the fact that Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was dropped against Rathore by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and upheld by the Supreme Court. CBI can always ask for re-investigation of the case. Lets not forget that Rathore was never tried with charge of abetment. The CBI had only booked him on charges of molestation. This means that Rathore was discharged of 306 and not acquitted. Had Rathore been acquitted not discharged, then circumstances would have been different, said Advocate SS Sukhija, a criminal lawyer practicing in UT district courts.

He added CBI can even re investigate the case by itself without even asking for prior permission of the Court. For, CBI never collected any evidence against Rathore with regard to abetment to suicide. And that On the civil side of law there is limitation but on the criminal side there is no limitation.

As far as the Haryana government is concerned, legal luminaries maintain that since the offence had taken place in the Haryana government (Panchkula), the state can always ask for re-opening of the case. According to lawyers, there is no embargo on the state even if the case was investigated by the CBI. What if the case was investigated by the CBI, the offence took place in Haryana. The state can take the responsibility and move the Court requesting for re-examination of the case said a senior lawyer.

Senior advocate Atul Lakhanpal held that for CBI and Haryana government to demand re-opening of the case, fresh evidence would play a pivotal role. If Haryana government or CBI approaches the court with some fresh evidence then it can be re-opened, he said.

The apex court can also take suo motu notice of the case and order a re-trial.

If the case is re-opened, statements of witnesses will be recorded all over again and fresh evidence will be collected to nail Rathore on charges of abetment to suicide. A maximum of ten years can be awarded to a person held guilty of abetment to suicide.