Uttarakhand HC asks state govt to form SITs in all districts to probe rape-and-murder cases
Taking suo motu cognisance of the alleged gangrape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Uttarkashi from media reports, the Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday directed the state government to constitute “permanent” Special Investigation Teams (SITs) in all the 13 of the districts that will probe the cases of ‘rape and murder’ from now on in the state.
The HC also directed the state government to handover the case from police the to the SIT that will be constituted within 48 hours, with a direction to complete the inquiry and investigation in the matter within four weeks.
The HC said the SITs will comprise senior superintendent of police/superintendent of police, additional superintendent of police/circle officer (co)/inspector, woman inspector, psychologist/counsellor and a woman social worker.
The division bench of acting chief justice Rajiv Sharma and justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari issued these directions to the principal secretary home.
A 12-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and gangraped on Friday by four labourers in Uttarkashi, leading to unrest in the area and prompting authorities to shut down internet services in the area.
The HC also directed all the trail courts to ensure speedy trial of cases registered under Section 376 of IPC as well as under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), by holding day to day trial.
The HC also banned publishing of names or photographs of rape victims, including the blurred pictures in print, electronic and social media. The court said it had already directed the state government to consider amendment in the law for imposing death penalty upon persons convicted of rape upon minors.
“The state government, till date, has not made its stand clear in the matter,” the order said. It also directed the state government to provide protection to the victims and close family members of the victims in rape cases.
The HC appointed advocate Sanjay Bhatt and advocate Lata Negi, as amicus curiae in the case . The next hearing in the matter will be held on August 31.