New Delhi (ILNS): The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of the horrific Hathras gang rape case and the issue of the UP Police not handing the body of the victim to the family and cremating it forcefully at 2 am instead.
A divisional bench comprising Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Jaspreet Singh stated: “This is a time to strengthen our resolve to live up to the ideas which ‘Bapu’ stood for. But, unfortunately, ground realities are very different from the high values propagated and practised by the Father of our Nation.”
The bench stated: “The rights of individual citizens in the Country and the State, especially that of the poor and the downtrodden such as the family members of the deceased victim and the deceased herself are paramount and the courts of law are under a bounden duty to see that the said rights available under the Constitution are protected at all costs and the State does not in its misplaced endeavour for political or administrative reasons transgress the limits of its powers to encroach and violate such rights, especially in the case of poor and the weak. We would like to examine whether the economic and social status of the deceased’s family has been taken advantage of by the state authorities to oppress and deprive them of their Constitutional rights.”
The bench has directed the Senior Registrar of the Court at Lucknow to register a suo motu Public Interest Litigation with the title In “In Re: Right to decent and dignified last rites/cremation” and place it before the appropriate Bench having jurisdiction to hear Public Interest Litigations.
The court has appointed Jaideep Narain Mathur, Senior Advocate and Abhinav Bhattacharya, Advocate, practising lawyers of the High Court, as Amicus Curiae, and requested them to assist this Court in the matter.
The bench has further directed Senior Registrar to communicate this order to the media agencies and request them to “produce relevant material and content, on the basis of which they have reported the matter in the newspapers and the electronic media about the aforesaid incident, in a Compact Disc or Pen Drive, for the assistance of this Court.”
The bench has also directed the family members of the deceased victim i.e. the father, the mother, brothers and sisters shall also be present before the Court so that Court ascertains the facts and their version of the incidents which took place at the time of cremation.
In addition to this the bench has directed the state authorities to ensure that no coercion, influence, or pressure is exerted upon the family members of the deceased in any manner, by anyone.
The court has listed the matter on October 12 and has directed the Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police, U.P. Lucknow, Additional Director General, Law and Order, U.P., District Magistrate, Hathras, Superintendent of Police, Hathras to appear before Court and put forth their version with support of requisite material.