Producing the torn uniform of the complainant police constable, which is worn in winters, when the incident happened in summers, led to the acquittal of the nine students of Panjab University, who were charged with rioting, misbehaving and outraging modesty of a woman constable at the varsity in 2014.
In the Court of Meenakshi Gupta, Judicial Magistrate First Class, Head Constable Raj Kumar deposed that “the shirt which he allegedly handed over to Sub Inspector Ramesh Kumar is a part of dress, which is worn by Chandigarh Police during winters, whereas, the alleged incident took place in summers.” The nine students Damanpreet Singh, Sahil Bathla, Suchinder Pal Singh, Dharminder Singh, Arshdeep Singh, Ramanpreet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Gurpreet, and Ravinder Singh, were acquitted from case on July 24.
The court in judgment, which was released on Saturday, observed, ‘.it is suspicious whether the actual uniform was produced in the court or not. Also, the non-examining of the photographers and not placing on record the photographs by the Investigating Officers creates a suspicion on the story of the prosecution as to the effect that whether the modesty of Lady Constable was ever outraged.’
As per the Prosecution case, on March 18, 2014, the complainant lady constable was deputed at beat box, Punjab University, Sector 14, Chandigarh, where the students were on a hunger strike at the gate of the vice-chancellor’s office against fee hike. According to the constable, after the health of boys on hunger strike deteriorated, she along with SHO Malkiat Singh, SI Lakbir Singh, Incharge PP Punjab University Chandigarh, HC Khushi Ram, HC Raj Kumar and a police photographer reached the spot, where students objected to accompany the police and started abusing police and assaulting them and also pelted stones. And then one of accused, Raman, started pushing complainant lady constable and caught her from arm, started ragging her, used vulgar language and torn out the uniform of the police officials.
According to the judgment, though police officers were present at the spot to capture the incident on camera, no such photographs were produced in court to show that any uniform was torn. Regarding the allegations of scuffle with the police, the court held that the entire prosecution witnesses during the course of their cross-examination have admitted that police officers had committed atrocities on the students including the accused persons, who were on hunger strike in the University Campus which was proved from the 19 photographs produced in the court. “All the prosecution witnesses were confronted with the said photographs and they deposed in one voice that the police personnel used forced and also brutally attacked the agitating students”, read the judgment.
Security officers at PU- Shiv Lal Yadav, Baljeet Singh, Santokh Singh, and Varinder Singh- who witnessed the incident deposed that no incident of stone pelting happened on that day and none of the agitating students attacked the police party. They further deposed that the agitating students never threatened the security staff of the University or the police officers. The police officers brutally attacked the agitating students, they told the court.
Apart from it, Head Constable Khushi Ram identified Constable Ramesh dragging and assaulting a sikh student in a photograph exhibited in the court. Another photograph showed Inspector Malkiat Singh slapping some students. He further admitted that in photograph three four police personnel were seen assaulting a student and in another photograph, one student was seen being hit by three police officers using lathi.
Acquitting the nine students of the charges, the court held, “No criminal act as alleged by the prosecution was ever committed by accused in the University Campus, rather, the students of the university including the accused persons were agitating peacefully and they were mercilessly beaten by the police personnel.”