Former DGP Rajesh Das act degraded the morale of police force; Madras High Court dismisses plea challenging his sentence in sexual harassment case

Madras High Court

Madras High Court: In a criminal miscellaneous petition against the order of the Principal District & Sessions Court by which the conviction and sentence imposed on former Special Director General of Police (DGP) Rajesh Das by the Chief Judicial Magistrate for the offences under Section 354-A(2) of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 and Section 341 read with Section 109 of IPC were confirmed, M .Dhandapani, J. declined to grant suspension of sentence to Rajesh Das in the sexual harassment case, and also dismissed the petition exempting him to surrender before the Trial Court.

Background:

In 2021, the victim, who was Superintendent of Police was on official duty, to accompany him after completion of the program at Lighthouse and after attending the next program, he will drop her. It is the case of the prosecution that Rajesh Das deviated from the normal route and took the victim to various places. In the course of the said travel, Rajesh Das caught hold of the right hand of the victim and with a view to outrage her modesty and with sexual intent, acted in an indecent manner, thereby causing apprehension and fear in her mind. It is the further case of the prosecution that regarding the said incident, when the victim tried to lodge a report with the higher officials, accused 2, the then Superintendent of Police, wrongfully restrained her at Paranur Toll Plaza and on the instruction of Rajesh Das criminally intimidated her and forced her to speak with Rajesh Das.

Analysis:

The Court said that in cases involving outraging the modesty of women or indecent behaviour with women, the courts should be very circumspect and slow while granting suspension of sentence to the accused, who have been held to be guilty through concurrent judgments of the courts below. The offence against women, girls and girl child is on the steep ascendency and this is causing a grave concern for a peaceful life in society.

The Court noted that Rajesh Das is holding a very high office in the police force, in fact, holding the pinnacle of the post in the police force, viz., the post of Director General of Police (Law & Order).

The Court said that when general public conduct themselves in an indecent manner with the women, it is the police authorities, who takes action, thereby, the apprehension and fear of the women in such situations would be put at rest through the act of the police authorities. The police authorities are looked up in high esteem with regard to the discharge of their duties without any fear or favour. However, in the present case, Rajesh Das, being higher in the hierarchy in the police department is alleged to have conducted himself in an indecent manner with his subordinate, including the subordinate being intimidated from not filing the complaint against him.

The Court noted that the contention of Rajesh Das is that the revision petition is not likely to be taken up at an early date and, therefore, the inconsistencies, contradictions and infirmities in the evidence pointed out should prevail upon this court to suspend the sentence imposed on the petitioner pending consideration of the revision.

The Court said that these infirmities should affect the substratum of the case. It is true that the said inconsistencies and contradictions would have a much higher value when the revision is taken up for consideration, but while considering the suspension of sentence, these contradictions pointed are not of such a nature warranting an affirmative result at the hands of Court.

The Court said that for considering the suspension of sentence, it must find out if the evidence added is so unreliable, which makes out a prima facie case.

The Court said that the evidence of the victim coupled with the other materials do not materially affect the substratum of the case and, therefore, it would not be in the interest of justice if this Court grants suspension of sentence, considering the, fact that the Rajesh Das is not a novice and in fact was holding the post of Director General of Police. A person of the said stature, coming from a disciplined force, ought to have to conduct himself in a proper manner, but his action has degraded the morale of the police force.

Therefore, the Court declined to grant suspension of sentence to Rajesh Das, and also dismissed the petition exempting him to surrender before the Trial Court.

[Rajesh Das v. State, 2024 SCC OnLine Mad 856, Order dated 23-04-2024]

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.