The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on the plea of a group of seven women, who were allegedly gangraped during Muzaffarnagar communal riots, seeking setting up of a SIT to probe the cases lodged by them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam asked the governments to file responses within two weeks on the joint petition filed by the women who also pleaded with the court that the trial of the cases be shifted to Delhi.

“Issue writ of mandamus or any other order or direction, constituting a Special Investigating Team of police officers from outside the state of Uttar Pradesh, and headed by a senior woman police officer of impeccable integrity and credentials, to investigate into the complaints of gangrape during assault, arson, looting of properties, grievous hurt, attempt to murder and other offences committed on them and their families,” the petition said.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the petitioners, contended that UP police are not taking any action against the accused and they are roaming freely.

She pleaded with the apex court to pass a direction for immediate arrest of the accused.

“The state government has clearly and completely failed in its constitutional obligation as they were gangraped and sexually assaulted by men of the other community with impunity during the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and inspite of their names being disclosed in the FIR, they are being permitted to roam around freely,” the petition said.

“Not a single man accused by the petitioners of gangrape and other crimes has been arrested, despite the clear mandate of the law in this regard. This clearly shows that the police and the Special Investigation Cell are engaged in a cover-up exercise and their investigation lacks credibility and integrity,” they said.