India Insight

Should K.P.S. Gill be stripped of his medals?

January 5, 2010

Media reports saying that the central government may take away the medals of police officers convicted of crimes have had an unexpected impact.

A policeman holds a submachine gun during a function in Mumbai August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Arko DattaThis puts former Punjab DGP and “super cop” Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (better known as K.P.S. Gill) in the same dock as S.P.S. Rathore, the former Haryana police chief convicted of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra.

Is such a step justified?

Gill, convicted in 1996 for misbehaving with an IAS officer, has said it is not right to strip officers of medals with retrospective effect. The former DGP also said he won’t be bothered if his medals are taken away.

Since officers are supposed to show exemplary conduct at all times, stripping them of medals may very well be the correct step.

At the same time, the medals may have been given in recognition of duties performed as police officers — perhaps for general conduct as officers or for specific acts of bravery.

Which medals is the government going to take away?

In Rathore’s case, action was only taken after a huge media outcry over his getting away lightly in the Ruchika case.

It can be argued that no one is perfect and that awards earned for doing good work have no bearing on wrongdoings the officer may have committed.

By this logic, some would say the actions of the central government are knee-jerk and unfair.

To many, K.P.S. Gill was the hero who brought an end to the Punjab insurgency.

Is Gill being wronged?

Comments
7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

@Is Gill being wronged?”

–Yes he will be, if he is dragged into this medal stripping ceremony. This talk of Gill being punished is BULLSHIT with big B!!!

Then new questions will pop up. Why police officers only? Are politicians not in a responsible position and these guys strip the nation of money. Let us see who is a role model and who is not and then pullout everyone one’s case.

Considering the achievements of KPS GILL (elimination of terrorism is rare) who fought against terrorists from his own community and earned the wrath of some people from his community, stripping him for his medals for pinching under influence (PUI) the bottom of a lady, is bit too much. In any case he has been convicted in some form already for PUI.

Rathore and Gill are entirely different cases. Rathore is molested a girl and put up false cases against girl’s brother/his torture in prison, leading to girls’ suicide. OTOH Gill’s clear cut case of PUI. No one is dead here. Rathore would have escaped if the girl did not end up committing suicide.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

People are not going to be fooled any longer and they are no more simpleton. They are well aware of the double standards of the big guys more too well than before. Thanks to media , specially TV, although many may not like. The job of media is to tell what people are. It is for thinkers to show the power of pen and add eyes. Countable Tiwaris,Rathors,sharmas,Gills could have set better examples. Many more commoners have learnt the escape routes & trick. The result is more crime of all shades. People’s stake in their lives is diminishing faster they are following the wrongs of the leaders. People only praise Manmohan Singh, our most able PM, but do not follow him an inch, we only have made him a pastime time & drawing room discussion icon, what an Indian irony. I can only cry , cry and cry???

Posted by Qurious | Report as abusive
 

Stripping Gill! Ho common stop this. This senior officer has done so much for the country and deserved it or perhaps more. What is his fault at all?? It was just a pinch.

Posted by Mysoresharath | Report as abusive
 

First of all I think there has to be one rule and one yardstick applicable to all. This controversy is typical of our attitude – tell me who you are and I will show you the rule.

As to taking away medals, I am of the opinion that what this shows up most of all is our process of selection and granting of medals and decorations. I have no doubt that Gill deserves his medals. However, on the other hand he has been held guilty by the courts of the same charge that Rathore has been – molestation. In both counts it has been proved. Both were considered Officers and gentleman. Both have proved they are not. Both in a manner have disgraced their service, whether we accept it or not in Gill’s case because of his prior good work. It would also be pertinent to add that Gill himself is not above being dictatorial and arrogant himself. Just because he did his job better than most others, he cannot be put above the law.

At a personal level I will feel bad if Gill is stripped of his decorations while I feel Rathore deserves what he gets. However, there are principles involved here. Does the charge of molestation bring disgrace to the individual and his service? I think it does and therefore there cannot be two yardsticks. Emotions have no place in this or shouldn’t.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Dara:

It is complicated.

First off all, isn;t there a difference between molesting/raping a minor and an adult. Second (not good enough may be) is Gill partying and bit drunk versus Rathore not so.

Rathore’s case carries weight because he continued to create problems that led to death of the victim. There is a degree of the crime too. It is politically incorrect that Gill should not be stripped of medals.

In any case it makes sense to set rules for future so that everyone knows before any crime they commit; digging old stuff gets dirty and not worth it.

Gill’s bigger fault is spoiling Indian hockey. Yes he is arrogant and stupid there and lost his reputation on that count.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

I agree it is complicated. More than that I think it is complicated because we have knee jerk responses to everything. How come now the complete system is bending over backwards to get Rathore on every count when earlier the same system, at all levels, contrived to aid and abet him? Its only because of the exposure and pressure isn’t it? It shouldn’t be like this.

I can quite understand why people feel soft towards Gill and hostile to Rathore. I feel likewise. But the fact is, we need to be principled in our approach to the law. It applies to everyone regardless of who you are. This in fact is where we are totally hypocritical. We cannot have two different yardsticks depending on who you are or whom you know.

As I see it, both Gill and Rathore are convicted by law. The difference is only of degree. Neither have done their service any good and have brought it into disrepute.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Dara:

I am sure there already exists a law how to punish Uniformed Officers like KPS Gill with the crime he committed. Let he be tried accordingly. Similarly, Uniformed Officer Rathore should be committed for his crime(s). It is hard for me to argue one way or the other whether the yardstick is same here. That is complicated and is beyond my expertise. Let the punishment be tailored according to the crime. If degree of the crime matters, let it be taken into account.

It is hard to see that Gill and Rathore fall under the same category–irrespective of Gill’s achievements. But if there is something clear cut mentioned about the circumstances under which the medals will be taken away or medals will not be awarded in future, let that happen; achivements or no achivements.

Separately, if a uniformed officer is in eligible for accepting medals of honor in future for the crimes in the past, that officer is ineligible to continue his/her service right at the time the time a particular crime was committed. So if this makes sense, then Gill should have resigned or asked to resign for his deeds since he had becomes ineligible for accepting medals. However, rathore for his crimes is quite eligible for discontining with the service, right after the suicide of that girl who was molested as a minor. Now here is where the degree of the crime comes into picture. In the absence of any legal expertise, which officer would you pick to be sacked.

@ But the fact is, we need to be principled in our approach to the law. It applies to everyone regardless of who you are.”
–sure, we do. But we got be sure if there is a common principal in the first place. I do not see it that way. So may be we start with different assumptions.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

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