Allahabad HC takes suo motu cognizance of Hathras gang rape case; seeks presence of deceased’s family to ascertain facts; warns authorities against pressuring them

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the reported gang rape and brutal mutilation of a 19-year-old woman belonging to the Scheduled Caste in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.

The Court also took note of the allegations that the dead body of the victim was not handed over to her family members so that her last rites could be performed as per prevalent customs and religious inclinations in a decent and dignified manner.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi on the eve of his birth anniversary, a division bench of Justices Rajan Roy and Jaspreet Singh expressed its dismay at the ground realities which it said: “was different from the high values propagated and practiced by the Father of our Nation”.

“This is a time to strengthen our resolve to live up to the ideas which “Bapu” stood for,” the bench said.

It said that the matter is of immense public importance and public interest as it involves an allegation of high handedness by the State Authorities resulting in the violation of the basic human and fundamental rights not only of the deceased victim but also of her family members. As it is, the deceased victim was treated with extreme brutality by the perpetrators of the crime and what is alleged to have happened thereafter, if true, amounts to perpetuating the misery of the family and rubbing salt in their wounds.

The Court has now summoned the Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police (DGP), ADG(Law and Order), District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police (SSP) Hathras on October 12 to put forth their version with the support of requisite material.

Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Jaspreet Singh

The bench also asked family members of the deceased i.e. the father, the mother, brothers and sisters to appear before the Court so that it can ascertain the facts and their version of the incidents which took place at the time of cremation.

It also directed the State Authorities to ensure that no coercion, influence or pressure was exerted upon the family members of the deceased in any manner, by anyone.

In addition, the court also ordered its registry to obtain the addresses of The Times of India, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala, India TV, Aaj Tak, NDTV and TV Today and Times Now from the Director, Information, U.P., Lucknow and communicate this order to them with the request to produce relevant material and content, on the basis of which they had reported the incident, in a Compact Disc or Pen Drive, for the assistance of this Court.

“We have also pondered over the henious crime committed against the deceased victim and though an SIT has been constituted by the State Government in the matter, we leave it open for our consideration on future dates, as to the necessity of monitoring the investigation or getting it conducted through an independent agency as per law”, the Court said.

The Court also quoted Oscar Wilde who said that “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses wearing above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.”

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