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PUCL, October 2006

High cost of interference

The Priyadarshani Mattoo Judgement
By Pushkar Raj, Secretary, PUCL
[PUCL Bulletin, January 2007 ]

Priyadarshani Mattoo was 23, with dreams to be a lawyer. She was raped and murdered in her house by one of her seniors in law campus Delhi, son of a senior police officer serving in the capital, who was stalking her for more than two years.

Mattoo case judgement has come. Though ten years of delay is no ordinary in a supposedly `alive’ society, we have been spared the worst: the case being lost in the maze of millions of cases that drag like a snail on never ending path. Many die before hearing the last word on their fight for justice. Chaman Lal Mattoo, the father of Priyadarshani Mattoo, has been fortunate.

While delivering the judgement the high court has observed, ` you have killed her’.
This` You’ is Delhi Police. Priyadarshani Mattoo approached as many as four police stations of the capital with complaint of being stalked. None of the officer in charge had the spine to register a case against the man who was stalking her fearlessly like a nephew of a king in a medieval kingdom. A disgusting reflection indeed on the kind of people who are entrusted with the task of protection of our life, liberty and property! Isn’t One reminded of Clowns in a third rate king’s court.

If only these police officers, nay clowns, had acted! Ms. Mattoo would be alive today. They did not. Is there no punishment for dereliction of duty that leads to a life snuffed out in its prime!

The high court observed that the convict’s father influenced the investigation. One wonders what kind of leadership the convict’s father was providing to the Delhi police force of which he was a senior officer. He did not check his son prior to the crime as he was stalking the woman; he defended him after the heinous act. May be we require psychological profiling at the time of recruitment and periodic moral grading of officers manning responsible positions.

In the intervening period of five years as the appeal against the accused was pending before the high court, someone married him and dreamed of a happy future. This points to another deep rooted perception among the people that if you are moneyed, well connected and morally derailed you can get away with all imaginable crimes in the contemporary India. This perception, to a large extent being non-erroneous, should make all the sane heads in the society sit up, think and act collectively. Or else we shall be carrying on our back a biting anarchy in near future in place of illusory order of the present.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014