Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tripura High Court disposes of suo motu PIL over suicide of woman after leak of intimate videos

When the PIL was pending, the husband of the lady also committed suicide

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The Tripura High Court on July 16, dispose of a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) arises out of Suo Motu cognizance taken by the High Court of the untimely death of a young married lady which was preceded by some unfortunate incidents of the village people gathering and humiliating her for her alleged extramarital activities.

When the above PIL was pending, the husband of the lady also committed suicide. These two cases were clubbed together for common investigation. A preliminary investigation carried out by the Investigating Officer was not progressing as desired by the Court. Therefore the Court had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to carry out further investigation. The SIT so constituted, has submitted its report dated 14.07.2021 in sealed covers for the Court perusal. This report gives detailed steps painstakingly undertaken by the Investigating Officers under the supervision and guidance of senior members of the SIT.

The report suggested that the investigation is at an advanced stage and very shortly the SIT would be in a position to submit its final report before the concerned Court. During such investigation, the SIT has also added certain offenses against persons already joined as accused.

The Division Bench of Justice S. Talapatra and Justice Akil Kurshei was fully satisfied with the investigation carried out by the SIT held that and in that view of the matter, the Court’s role in this PIL must be over.

“ We would, therefore, like to withdraw from this issue and allow the normal criminal justice delivery system to take over. We are, however, anxious that the issue must reach finality as soon as possible”, said the Court.

The Bench disposed of the PIL with the following directions :

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(i)As assured by the SIT in its report dated 14.07.2021, let the final report upon completion of investigation be submitted before the concerned Court. (ii) Upon such a report being submitted, the concerned Courts shall thereafter proceed in accordance with the law. (iii) If charge-sheets are filed against any of the accused, we expect that the entire trial would be completed within a period of six months from the date the corona related restrictions on the functioning of the Courts are lifted.

“Though not necessary it is clarified that nothing stated by us in this order or any of the previous orders would prejudice the accused in their defence. All the accused would have the fullest opportunity to prove their innocence and like any other criminal trial the starting point would be the presumption of innocence of the accused. The trial Court shall decide the case unmindful of any of the observations made by us. If during the course of trial the SIT perceives any threat to any of the witnesses, necessary steps or witness protection shall be taken. PIL disposed of accordingly”, the order reads.

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