SC for strict action against criminal cops

Kathmandu, September 30:

The Supreme Court today directed the prosecuting authority and the lower courts to award maximum sentence to those who commit crimes by misusing their uniforms.

In a judicial step taken to end impunity in custodial violence, the SC issued the stricture by a

division bench of Justices Balram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari in response to a rape case filed against a cop who, while on duty in Nepal Police uniform, committed the crime by taking a girl in custody.

The apex court directed the authorities to penalise anyone who commits crime by misusing the state uniform and terrorise the people by brandishing state-owned weapons with maximum sentence for their betrayal of the faith of and responsibility given by the state.

“Be sensitive and penalise criminals who misuse the state uniform, a symbol of state responsibility towards protection of commoners, and cause to degrade public faith in it,” the bench said and directed the Appellate Courts to exercise their discretion while penalising such criminals with maximum punishment even if the prosecuting authority does not demand such punishment. While upholding the Patan Appellate Court verdict, the apex court slapped a four-year jail term on Sub-Inspector Rakesh Kumar Singh, who raped Himali Gole, 18, after taking her into custody by brandishing a gun, in 1996.

Singh had challenged the Patan Appellate Court verdict, which upheld the Dolakha District Court verdict to sentence him for four years and compensate the victim with

half of his property as per Clause 10 under Rape Chapter of Muluki Ain 1963.

Women have been facing crimes like this since long, so the culprits should be penalised with stern actions, the bench said while underlining Right to Equality guaranteed by the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 and Right to Equality Act 2006.

“The cop misused his uniform and weapon belonging to the Nepal Police. He led a team that raided Himali’s house at Gauripudi VDC of Dolakha district while conducting an operation to keep an eye on Maoist activities, brandished weapon and took into custody the girl and her family members, took the girl to a neighbouring house and raped her,” the bench observed.

“He took the girl in police custody and prevented other people from visiting her by deploying his juniors outside the house where he raped the girl,” the bench observed.

The bench maintained that the cop had committed crime against humanity and had betrayed the state responsibility to maintain law and order.

“He did not only fail to perform his duty of protecting the common people, but betrayed the faith of the state, thus he should be given maximum punishment,” the bench said.

The bench also directed the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the cop on crime against humanity for terrorising Himali’s family while committing the crime and also for misusing the police uniform, under Clause 35 of Police Act 2012 BS.