In a move that has shocked the friends of Ruchika Girhotra, the Central Administrative Tribunal has restored the pension of former Haryana director general of police S P S Rathore, who was convicted of molesting her.
A division bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal headed by Justice S D Anand has ordered the restoration of the pension of Rathore, which was stopped by the Centre in June last year.
Rathore, 69, was awarded six months' rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 1,000 by the Chandigarh Central Bureau of Investigation's court in December 2009 for molesting the 14-year-old tennis player on August 12, 1990. The girl committed suicide three years later.
The bench observed that it was of the considered view that the competent authority could not have validly directed withholding of pension on a permanent basis.
Ruchika's family friend Anand Prakash said the news has come as a shock for him.
"Definitely it is a disappointment for me and the parents and to the public. He has walked away with full pension again while he does not deserve anything," said Prakash.
"We are consulting our consultants. If there is any scope, we will move the court. His pension should not be restored when three to five FIRs are still pending against him," he said.
His wife Madhu Prakash said, "It is the failure of the system. Firstly, he got punishment after such a long time. He enjoyed all the facilities during this time and got his promotion. I am very disappointed by the CAT decision".
In his petition challenging the Union government's decision, Rathore had pleaded that his pension has been stopped on a permanent basis, without assigning any cogent reasons, by the central government.
"The pension of a person is not a bounty. It is a legal entitlement which can only be curtailed by an express provision of law and not otherwise," the petition added.
Rathore had also compared his case with that of former Punjab DGP K P S Gill, who too was convicted on charges of molestation.
"No order for withholding the pension of KPS Gill, who has also been found guilty of molestation, was delivered. This despite the fact that the conviction of KPS Gill had attained finality on July 27, 2005 by the apex court," Rathore argued.