Not arresting rape accused BJP MLA Sengar is breach of law: legal experts
The decision of the Uttar Pradesh police not to arrest Kuldeep Singh Sengar even after booking him for rape is “bad in law”, say legal experts, claiming that police were “clearly” favouring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s legislator in the case.
Police booked Sengar for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl last year under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)Act, 2012, on Thursday. The POCSO Act provides for immediate arrest of the accused.
The state police did not arrest him saying they have referred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who will take a call to arrest him or not.
Uttar Pradesh’s principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said the central agency will investigate the case and decide on arresting the MLA, whom he repeatedly referred as “mananiya (respectful)” during a press conference on Thursday.
Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover said not arresting Sengar was a “breach of law”.
“He has been booked for cognizable offence and non-bailable offences under which he is required for immediate custodial interrogation by the police. Not arresting him clearly shows that the police was favouring the accused,” Grover said.
Another legal expert said action should be taken against the police for not arresting Sengar immediately after he was booked for rape.
“Under the section 21-B of the POCSO Act, there is a provision of registering a case against the police for not arresting the accused. In this case, this section should be invoked,” former member of Uttar Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights Nahid Lari Khan said.
Former additional solicitor general of India, Indira Jaisingh, said the Unnao case shows the law can be twisted to help the “mighty” and “powerful”.
“If the police will not implement the law, who would?” she asked, claiming that such cases are the reason for growing disenchantment of the people with police.
Grover said that not calling Sengar for interrogation was a “display of shameless power” and indicates that law is applied differently to common citizens and those in power.
She also asked why Sengar was not booked as a co-accused in the case of the alleged murder of the rape victim’s father, who died in the judicial custody on Monday. Sengar’s brother has been arrested and named as an accused in the murder case.
The first information report (FIR) said a person called Shashi Singh, now a co-accused in the case, took the girl to the MLA’s residence in Makhi in Unnao at about 8pm on June 4, 2017, on the pretext of recommending a job for her from the legislator.
At the lawmaker’s residence, the victim, who was 17 then, claimed she was raped by Sengar.
The police did not name the MLA in the case lodged earlier even though the girl named him in the complaint to police.
Sengar’s name was included in the FIR only after the special investigation team headed by additional director general of police (prison) Love Kumar submitted a report to the director general of police.
(With inputs from HT Correspondent, Lucknow)