A day after a woman from Bathinda alleged that a sitting and a retired judge along with Senior Advocates influenced the outcome in a case of gangrape where the judges’ “relative” was an accused, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recalled the order for issuance of bailable warrants against her and also requisitioned the trial court record of the case. The order came during the hearing of her leave to appeal against the acquittal of the accused and the contempt proceedings going on against her.
In the rape case registered in Sri Mukhtsar Sahib in 2011, the accused were acquitted in 2018 by the trial court which ruled that “the evidence and circumstances show that prosecutrix has given a false statement and created evidence with intent to procure conviction…”.
The trial case also led to initiation of two contempt proceedings against her for insulting judicial officers and making allegations against the High Court judges — the now-recalled bailable warrants were issued in March to secure her presence in the contempt proceedings but were stayed last month after she assured her presence. Her plea for leave to appeal against the acquittal order is also pending before the court and on Wednesday, notices were also issued to the respondents, who were previously accused, in the matter.
While alleging that the court was not properly hearing her plea for leave to appeal against the conviction and she was being threatened of conviction by senior lawyers in the contempt cases unless she withdraws the plea for leave to appeal, the woman earlier this month approached the High Court with a PIL seeking transfer of cases to the Chief Justice’s Court. The allegations against a sitting judge and some Senior Advocates were made in the plea heard by the division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli on Tuesday which raised objection over maintainability of the PIL in her matter. She had also sought quashing of the acquittal order in her PIL. However, Justice Murari’s bench told her the rules do not allow such passing of orders in the PIL.
On Wednesday, the division bench of Justices Jaswant Singh and Arun Kumar Tyagi told the woman that her cases will taken up one by one to avoid any confusion. In one of the contempt cases, the court asked for her reply to which she replied she has filed for “discharge” as the case has no basis. The court told her that it was for them to decide and in case she does not file any reply, she will be admitting to the reference made against her for contempt.
“Whether it amounts to scandalizing… that is a different thing but you have file a reply” the court observed, adding, “Don’t turn around (and say) that the judges are not hearing the matter. You don’t know the procedure.” The woman has already turned down the court’s offer to appoint a counsel on her behalf. The judges told the woman that she can apologise and the court can consider dropping the contempt proceedings against her.
During the hearing of her plea for leave to appeal, the woman submitted that a latest Supreme Court judgment allows the complainant to file appeal without seeking permission and thus her appeal needs to be registered. The Court in the order said the trial record had been previously called for but has not been received. While requisitioning the record, the court also issued notice to the respondents for July 8.
As the woman continued to cite different provisions of law and judgements, the court also asked her whether she had studied law. She responded that she has been fighting the case for 10 years. “Das saal main law karwa hi dhi…,” she said.