The apex court bench of Justices GS Singhvi and Kurian Joseph said that the "misleading" report will be put "in the dustbin" after Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra read the following line from the magistrate's findings: "She used unparliamentary language and threw her sandals at the cops."
The reference was to the woman whose complaint about being molested by a truck driver on the Tarn Taran highway led suprisingly to the police thrashing her. At that time, the woman was accompanied by her aged father. He too was beaten up for supporting her.
The magistrate had tried to justify the police by claiming that lathi-charge is necessary in some situations. The court rejected the report that claimed such incidents have happened before in Punjab.
"We will put the report in the dustbin. It goes by the character of the person who prepared the report," the bench observed.
"We are bothered about what happens daily on the streets ... helpless women are beaten up mercilessly," the court noted. A similar incident was reported from Bihar some weeks ago. "Then there is a magisterial inquiry and the cop is suspended and Rs 10000 awarded to the victim for loss of her dignity. How can this problem be solved? How to bring about change?," the judges asked.
"We can't retrieve the dignity of the lady except to put balm on her feelings," the court said, and ordered the State to provide security to the victims.
The bench suggested sarcastically that the Punjab government should think of handing out bravery medals to the policemen concerned. The court warned of imposing hefty fines on erring cops.