A LAND­MARK DE­CI­SION BY PUN­JAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT

Woman's Era - - Editorial - edi­tor@wom­ansera.com

It must be said right at the out­set that in a land­mark, ex­em­plary and un­prece­dented de­ci­sion which must be ap­plauded by all, the Pun­jab and Haryana High Court in Nis­han Singh vs State of Pun­jab which was de­liv­ered on Au­gust 31, 2018 has or­dered one Nis­han Singh Brar, con­victed of ab­duc­tion and rape of a mi­nor vic­tim girl, and his mother Navjot Kaur to pay ` 90 lakh to­wards com­pen­sa­tion when they de­manded 20 lakhs only. This is truly laud­able! Why should the rape vic­tim and her par­ents not be com­pen­sated for such a heinous crime like rape?

It may be re­called here that Nis­han Singh has al­ready been con­victed by the trial court and sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment. The Pun­jab and Haryana High Court or­dered Nis­han Singh to pay ` 50 lakh to the vic­tim whereas, ` 20 lakh each to vic­tim’s mother and fa­ther. The Bench of Pun­jab and Haryana High Court com­pris­ing of Jus­tice AB Chaud­hari and Jus­tice In­der­jit Singh was hear­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion filed by the rape vic­tim’s fa­ther seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion.

How­ever, for brevity, some of the facts are stated herein as un­der: -

“On 24.09.2012, at about 9: 45 A. M., Nis­han Singh along with his some com­pan­ions, barged their en­try into the house of the com­plainant armed tried to forcibly take away the pros­ecutrix ‘ S’ with them. The com­plainant, his wife and other daugh­ter Sak­shi ob­structed them, but they were sub­ject to beat­ings. De­spite this, the com­plainant and his other daugh­ter chased them and found that they had bun­dled pros­ecutrix ‘S’ into a car and fled away. Navjot Kaur mother of Nis­han Singh and oth­ers had ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in the kid­nap­ping and ab­duc­tion.

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team, af­ter thor­ough searches, on 21.10.2012, in­ter­cepted Nis­han Singh in Goa and re­cov­ered vic­tim pros­ecutrix ‘S’ from his cus­tody.

On 28.10.2012, pros­ecutrix ‘ S’ ex­pressed de­sire for med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion and a med­i­cal board ex­am­ined her and found that she was car­ry­ing in­tra uter­ine early preg­nancy.

“Now ex­am­in­ing the ev­i­dence re­gard­ing rape as stated ear­lier by us, the ques­tion of con­sent is in­signif­i­cant. No other ev­i­dence is re­quired to prove rape when there is a med­i­cal ev­i­dence on record that the pros­ecutrix had be­come preg­nant. Suf­fice it to say that the pros­ecutrix hav­ing been kid­napped on the strength of arms from her house with the episode of her fam­ily mem­bers be­ing in­jured, the peo­ple be­ing scared with fir­ing tak­ing place in the broad day light, and she be­ing in cus­tody of ap­pel­lant – Nis­han Singh through­out, what kind of con­sent/will­ing­ness is be­ing pro­pounded! Can one call this as con­sent? The mi­nor girl her­self was wor­ried about her life.

“We re­ject the ar­gu­ments in toto. That apart, we hav­ing held the girl be­ing of the age of 15 years, 5 months, con­sent would be wholly ir­rel­e­vant.” Fi­nally and most im­por­tantly, para 7 states that: “In our opin­ion, the pros­ecutrix ‘S’ would be en­ti­tled to the to­tal com­pen­sa­tion amount of ` 50 lakh.

The com­plainant – Ash­wani Ku­mar Sachdeva and his wife Seema shall be en­ti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion in the sum of ` 20 lakhs each. The ap­pel­lant-nis­han Singh and his moth­erNavjot Kaur own and pos­sess large chunk of lands val­ued at far more than the amount of com­pen­sa­tion that is be­ing or­dered to be paid by this Court. It is not dif­fi­cult at all for both the ac­cused to make good the com­pen­sa­tion from the prop­er­ties owned and pos­sessed by them. We thus, dis­pose of both th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions with fol­low­ing op­er­a­tive or­der: -

(i) The ap­pel­lant-nis­han Singh and Navjot Kaur shall pay to­tal com­pen­sa­tion in the sum of ` 90 lakhs (i.e. ` 50 lakhs to the pros­ecutrix ‘ S’ and ` 20 lakh each to the com­plainant – Ash­wani Ku­mar Sachdeva and his wife Seema)

(ii) The Col­lec­tor of the District Farid­kot is di­rected to at­tach the agri­cul­tural as well as ur­ban prop­er­ties of both Nis­han Singh and his mother Navjot Kaur, forth­with, and pro­ceed to re­cover from sale pro­ceeds thereof the amount of com­pen­sa­tion, i.e. ` 90 lakhs as afore­said and dis­trib­ute the same as stated in the present or­der

(iii) The en­tire pro­ce­dure of at­tach­ment and sale of prop­erty of Nis­han Singh and Navjot Kaur shall be com­menced and com­pleted within 10 weeks from to­day and the com­pli­ance shall be re­ported af­ter 10 weeks to this Court about the pay­ments hav­ing been made as afore­said.”

On a con­clud­ing note, it has to be said that it is an ex­cel­lent and ex­em­plary judg­ment which will send a very loud and stern mes­sage to all rapists and their helpers like mother in this case that, “You have to reap what you sow”. In this case, an un­prece­dented, laud­able and land­mark de­ci­sion has been taken by the Di­vi­sion Bench of Pun­jab and Haryana High Court com­pris­ing of Jus­tice AB Chaud­hari and Jus­tice In­der­jit Singh who awarded a huge com­pen­sa­tion of ` 90 lakh to the vic­tim and the com­plainant – Ash­wani Ku­mar Sachdeva and his wife Seema even though the vic­tim had just de­manded ` 20 lakh only!

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