India Insight

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

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.

Ruchika case: Easy on the policeman?

Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player, was molested by then Haryana police IG S.P.S. Rathore in Panchkula in 1990.

Three years later, Ruchika killed herself, which her friend and case witness Aradhana attributes to the harassment of Ruchika and her family by those in power.

Nineteen years later, Rathore walks away with six months of rigorous imprisonment and a 1000-rupee fine, reportedly due to his old age and the “prolonged trial”.

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