Kachroo ragging death: Justice in suspended animation

Shimla: Justice seems to be in a state of suspended animation in the sensational case of of medical student Aman Kachroo who died after being ragged by four seniors in Himachal Pradesh.

Almost one-and-a-half years have passed since four students of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital at Tanda town in Kangra district were convicted and sentenced to four years’ rigorous imprisonment for culpable homicide by a fast-track Dharamsala court.

But, so far neither has the state’s appeal for enhancing the sentence nor has the appeal of the convicts against the verdict made any headway in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

At least six judges of the high court have recused themselves from hearing the case that at one point of time shook the nation.

The next date of hearing is yet to be notified.

“The matter has once again brought into focus the need for expeditious disposal of cases, especially those that serve as an exemplary one for future cases like ragging,” Aman’s father, Rajendar Kachroo said.

Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma were held guilty Nov 11, 2010, under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 34 (common intention) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code by Additional District and Sessions Judge Purinder Vaidya.

Aman, 19, who had been in the medical college since 2007, died March 8, 2009, after he was ragged by four drunk seniors.

Within one month of the trial court verdict, all four accused moved the high court against the decision.

One of the petitioners, Naveen, contended that the trial was highlighted by the media, both electronic and print, and the theory of the realistic jurisprudence was applied against the convicts.

On the other hand, the state moved against the verdict on two counts. First, Aman was brutally beaten under the garb of ragging by his seniors and sought higher punishment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on charges of murder, not under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

And the second, the trial court had shown leniency while pronouncing the quantum of punishment.

The autopsy report of Aman confirms the cause of death as neurogenic shock due to ante-mortem head injury – sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

The magisterial inquiry conducted by the state government into Aman’s death had concluded that he died due to ragging.

“Aman collapsed and died due to injuries which the post-mortem report has linked to the incident of ragging,” said the report, holding then college principal Suresh Sankhyan responsible for the lapses.

Advocate General R.K. Bawa said: “There should be no delay in disposing of any case. Efforts should be made for quick disposal, especially in custodial cases.”

But an aghast Kachroo on phone from Delhi said: “It’s indeed a low point for the Indian judiciary when judges take into account local sentiments in deciding whether a case should be taken up by them or not.”

The four convicts in the case have already spent three years behind bars and expect to be out the next year after the completion of the sentence, even if their appeal remains undecided.

Aman, whose family originally hails from Jammu and Kashmir but is now settled in Gurgaon near Delhi, was said to be a brilliant student. He did his schooling from DPS International in Saket in south Delhi.


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