Saturday, December 3, 2022

47 lady advocates write to CJI seeking constitution of High Court-monitored probe in Hathras rape case

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New Delhi (ILNS): A collective of 47 lady advocates of the Supreme Court have written to the Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde seeking constitution of a High Court-monitored investigation and trial to ensure ‘strictest and swiftest’ possible punishment to the accused in the Hathras rape case.

Urging the court for immediate intervention, the lady advocates have also sought immediate inquiry and suspension or any punitive action against all erring police, administrative, and even medical officers, who tried to manipulate the facts and evidences in the resent case and also to set up “adequate institutional mechanisms and guidelines so no other victim or their family need to feel lost regarding our law and order, and suffer the same fate.”

The victim, a 19-year-old girl, was gang-raped by four men on September 14 in Hathras District of Uttar Pradesh. As per reports, it has been alleged that the accused broke her spinal cord, gouged her eyes and cut off her tongue during the brutal rape. However, Police said that the medical reports state that the injuries were inflicted when she was strangulated by the accused.

The rape victim was first admitted to Aligarh Muslim Univerity’s Jawahrarlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and then shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on September 28 where she died on September 29.

The family has alleged that despite repeated complaints to register a case against the accused, the Police failed to do so and cremated the deceased in the wee hours against the wishes of the deceased’s family.

The advocates have said that it is well settled whether it is obligatory for the police to register FIR on information given by an informant.

In the Lalita Kumari Vs Govt of UP, answering the question in the affirmative, the Supreme Court in the Lalita Kumari case framed eight guidelines to be followed by the police. 

The bench ruled that registration of an FIR is mandatory under Section 154 CrPC if the information received by the police discloses commission of a cognizable offence.

Furthermore, the victim should have been taken for medical examination immediately and a MLC would have clearly stated all the injuries on the person of the victim, which then could have directed the sections to be added in the FIR and guided further investigation.

However, in the present case the ambiguity as to whether or not there was sexual assault, does not seem to inspire confidence.

Moreover, the need for a midnight cremation and denying the victim’s family their right to their religious beliefs, has to be accounted for, especially keeping in mind the circumstances and behaviour of the police force. So much more could have been done to assist the victim and her family, and its absence cannot be tolerated for any reason. The fundamental and human rights of the victim and her family were to be upheld by one and all.


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