Hathras gangrape case: SC directs Allahabad high court to monitor CBI probe
The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday entrusted the monitoring of investigation in the Hathras gangrape and murder case to the Allahabad high court (HC) and left it open-ended about the transfer of the trial from Uttar Pradesh (UP) to Delhi after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) completes its probe.
The CBI, which started the probe into the case on October 10, will now report its progress to the HC. The HC will also determine the transfer of the trial and security to witnesses and the victim’s kin.
The order was passed by a SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, which had reserved its orders in the case on October 15.
The order came following a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a court-monitored probe by Satyama Dubey, a social activist .
Several women lawyers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have also joined in with the demand to shift the trial outside UP and provide safety to witnesses in the case.
At present, the UP Police authorities are providing round-the-clock protection to the witnesses and family members of the victim. The petitioners demanded Central forces to take over the security duties from UP Police.
The apex court has also directed the HC to delete the name of the victim and her family members from the order sheet while taking a suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the proceeding.
The HC’s lapse was pointed out to the SC by Solicitor-General (S-G) Tushar Mehta during the last hearing on October 15 .
Advocate Seema Kushwaha, who represented the victim’s family, prayed before the apex court to shift the trial to Delhi after the CBI probe is over.
S-G Tushar Mehta, who represented the UP government, had submitted before the SC that it had no objection if the probe is court-monitored or security is handed to some other agency.
The UP Police maintained that any such order would not reflect the authorities concerned in poor light.
The gang-rape rape and murder of a Dalit teenager (19) had occurred in UP’s Hathras district had occurred on September 14. She had succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Delhi a fortnight later.
UP government authorities had performed her last rites at the dead of night the following day under UP Police’s protection.
The HC had taken note on its own about the hurried cremation of the victim without showing her face to her family members.
The matter is still pending before the HC.
So far, UP Police has arrested four upper caste men -- Sandeep Singh, Ravi, Ramu and Luvkush Sikarwar – for their alleged role in the gang-rape and murder of the Hathras victim.
The accused are lodged in Delhi’s Alipur jail.