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Meet Jagdeep Singh, The Judge Who Sentenced Dera Chief To Prison, Saying He Acted Like A 'Wild Beast'

He is known for his no-nonsense attitude.

29/08/2017 10:48 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2017 10:48 AM IST
Adnan Abidi / Reuters
S. K. Garg Narwana, lawyer of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a self-styled godman, speaks with the media after the court hearing.

On Monday, CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh sentenced the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to 20 years "rigorous imprisonment" — 10 years each for the rape of two disciples.

The judge had become a hero three days ago, after he convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape.

At the makeshift court in Suneria jail near Rohtak, where the judge was flown in a helicopter, the defence lawyer sought leniency, pointing to "social works" that Ram Rahim Singh claimed he had done.

But the judge, known for his competence and toughness, was not interested in any past records of good behaviour. He said that the Dera chief did not deserve any "sympathy of the court". The special CBI didn't stop there. He further added that the Dera chief had acted like a "wild beast".

"...He committed breach of gravest nature by sexually assaulting such gullible and blind followers. Such criminal acts of convict, who is stated to be heading a religious organisation, are bound to shatter images of pious and sacred spiritual, social, cultural and religious institutions existing in the country since time immemorial, which in turn reflects irreparable damages caused by the acts of the convicts to the heritage of this ancient land," read the judgement, Times Of India reported.

A Hindustan Times report quotes eyewitnesses who saw the judge walking into the courtroom on Friday, unfazed by the tense atmosphere in Haryana's Panchkula, where more than 200,000 dera followers had camped.

After completing his law degree from Panjab University (PU) in 2000, Jagdeep Singh became a Punjab and Haryana high court lawyer. In 2012, he joined the judicial services and was first posted in Sonepat. Last year, he was designated as the CBI special court judge.

Singh is not just known for his no-nonsense attitude. Last year, he was in the news when he stopped his car and helped four accident victims. After emergency services told him that ambulances would not be able to reach the accident spot anytime soon, he drove the victims to the nearby Jind hospital himself.

During the sentencing on Monday, the judge also ruled that the Dera chief has to pay a fine of Rs 30 lakh.

"Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim is stated to be head of Dera which runs a number of institutions in which 7-8 thousand are working. He has been visiting abroad for the promotion of his movies." He said that these prove that the convict "is a man possessing huge pelf and has huge financial resources to compensate victims of his criminal act."

The judge, in fact, had observations that will hopefully serve as an example for future judgements.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi to point out that a woman has "greater courage" than a man.

"To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it's man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immediately man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she of more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be," he said.

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