The Supreme Court of India has set aside a High Court Judgement which reduced the sentences of a group of men and policemen accused of torturing a man they suspected of adultery.
Instead, Kishore Singh, Sumer Dan and Sohan Singh will now serve time in prison, as their initial conviction directed, for beating up Jugta Ram and cutting off his penis.
In his judgement on C.B.I. Vs. KISHORE SINGH & ORS. delivered on 25th October 2010, Mr. Justice Markandey Katju wrote:
“we are surprised how the High Court has acquitted Sohan Singh and Sumer Dan and reduced the sentence of accused Kishore Singh. It was a barbaric act on the part of the accused, who deserve no leniency.
In our opinion, policemen who commit criminal acts deserve harsher punishment than other persons who commit such acts, because it is the duty of the policemen to protect the people, and not break the law themselves.”
On 2nd February 1994, Bheru Singh got into an argument with his employee, Jugta Ram, whom he accused of sleeping with his wife and eldest daughter. A scuffle broke out and Bheru Singh to Jugta Ram to the Sadar police station where his relative, SHO Sohan Singh, worked.
Jugta Ram was then kept in custody for three days without presentation to a magistrate, which is legally required after 24 hours. He was beaten up by Bheru Singh, constable Kishore Singh and A.S.I. Sumer Dan.
Jugta Ram’s brother came to ask after him but was told to pay Rs. 40-50 thousand for his release (around US $898).
After continued torture and sustained allegations of having an affair, Jugta Ram finally admitted to sleeping with Bheru Singh’s wife.
At the admission of guilt, Sumer Dan held Jugta Ram by the neck, put his hand on his mouth and then constable Kishore Singh cut off Jugta Ram’s penis with a sharp edged weapon (`ustra’ or barber’s razor). Jugta Ram was then taken to a hospital.
Bheru Singh died during the trial of the four accused. The trial court sentenced accused Kishore Singh to rigorous imprisonment for life plus seven years and fines. The trial court sentenced accused Sohan Singh to a total of eighteen months rigorous imprisonment. The trial court sentenced Sumer Dan to a total of 22 years rigorous imprisonment.
On appeal the High Court acquitted Sohan Singh and Sumer Dan and reduced the sentence and fine of Kishore Singh. Supreme Court Justice Mr. Markandey Katju termed that decision a “gross travesty of justice”.
Counsel for the accused argued that the defendants had sustained a “sudden and grave provocation” when Jugta Ram confessed to having an affair. Mr Katju did not agree, saying that the length of Jugta Ram’s imprisonment, the action of obtaining a suitable weapon prior to his final injury and the sustained nature of his torture amount to a pre-meditated attack.
Read the full judgement by clicking here: http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/helddis3.aspx