The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted three weeks time to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in the matter of Tamil Nadu Police challenging the Madras High Court order, transferring the investigation into a 17-year-old Thanjavur girl’s alleged forceful conversion & death by suicide case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The matter was listed today before the bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi. Advocate Swarupama Chaturvedi for NCPCR said the intervention application has been filed and sought time to submit documents in a sealed cover.
The Court said the matter is to be listed in three weeks.
According to the intervention application, the NCPCR took cognisance of the complaint, which has mentioned that the child victim had passed away on 19th of January 2022 in Government Thanjavur Medical College & Hospital , Thanjavur , under Section 13 (1) (j) of CPCR Act, 2005 It is submitted that after perusal of the complaint, it was felt by the NCPCR that the matter mandated a thorough investigation by the investigating authorities. In furtherance of the same, the NCPCR issued the letter dated 20.01.2022 to the Director General of Police , Tamil Nadu requesting to initiate inquiry and to take appropriate and necessary legal action regarding the allegation made in the complaint and submit action taken report (ATR) to the NCPCR.
It is mentioned in the application that NCPCR has received 3545 complaints with the request to conduct the inquiry in connection to this incident.
The NCPCR further submitted that during the visit and inquiry, many discrepancies and lapses were observed by the officials of NCPCR regarding required immediate steps taken by the school authorities for the care of the minor girl after she fell sick and in the investigation into the death of the minor girl being done by the authorities, which are stated in the report prepared by the NCPCR. The discussions between the team of NCPCR and the doctor who treated the child and conducted post-mortem, police officials, district officials, parents and grandparents (maternal side) of the child victim have been recorded by the team of NCPCR during the visit.
The NCPCR issued the letter dated 02.03.2022 to the Chief Secretary , State of Tamil Nadu , wherein the NCPCR requested the Office of the Chief Secretary to look into the matter and take suitable disciplinary action against the district authorities who had failed to take action as per the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. The NCPCR also requested that the necessary counseling , assistance and compensation be provided to the family of the child victim and to provide information as to how many institutions are functioning under Tamil Nadu Hostel and Homes for Women and Children (Regulation) Act , 2014 and Juvenile Justice Act , 2015 along with providing a list of the same to the NCPCR.
It is mentioned that Tamil Nadu Hostel and Homes for Women and Children (Regulation) Act , 2014 is in contravention of Juvenile Justice Act , 2015. The NCPCR also requested in the letter that all the children residing in the Children Care Institutions have been shifted while following due procedure.
“That the NCPCR is of the considered view and is apprehensive that there has been a grave injury and violation of the rights of the child victim, when she was alive which has led her towards the decision. to take her precious life. It is further observed by the NCPCR that mischief could have been done, both while the child victim was alive and while her death was being investigated. The NCPCR feels duty bound to submit the findings of its inquiry to assist this Hon’ble Court with its findings and has come to the Hon’ble Court in the hopes that no other child would suffer from the similar fate as the child victim , and to assist the Hon’ble Court in reaching a just, fair and equitable decision,”
-the application reads.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela Trivedi passed the order on special leave petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government, through the state’s Director General of Police (DGP), challenging the order of the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) transferring the case from local police to the CBI.
The Madras High Court, in its January 31 order, had ordered CBI probe, after taking a critical view of the stand taken by the local police that there was no basis for the allegation that the suicide was due to the forced attempts by the girl’s Missionary School to convert her to Christianity.
The girl, a Class 12 student of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Michaelpatti, had died on January 19 following an attempt to suicide. After her death, certain video clips of her recorded by a third party named Muthuvel emerged in social media, in which the girl had allegedly made statements about forcible conversion attempts.
Case Name- The Director General of Police & Ors. vs Muruganatham