A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday declined to hear a petition filed by Suryanelli rape victim challenging the order of discharge of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien from the case in 2007.
When the plea came up, the bench, comprising Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair and Justice B. Kemal Pasha, declined to hear it.
Justice Ramachandran had appeared for Mr. Kurien in the case while he was practising in the High Court as lawyer.
A single bench had last week referred the petition to a division bench observing that the issue involved in the case was likely to arise in future also. Therefore an authoritative decision will be “highly profitable”.
The High Court had acquitted Mr. Kurien for lack of evidence.
Challenging the decision, the victim, who was allegedly raped by 40 odd men in 1996 when she was only 16, approached the court stating that the order was passed without hearing her. She was also not made party to earlier proceedings, it was submitted.
“Law initially gave little priority to the victim of an offence. Entire process had been on the rights of the accused, which was zealously guarded by courts, ignoring rights of victims in most of the cases,” Justice P. Bhavadasan had held while referring the petition to a higher bench.
A special court had sentenced 36 persons to rigorous imprisonment in 2000. However, on an appeal, the High Court acquitted all of them except one stating that the girl had consensual sex with all of them.
The case was pending in the Supreme Court for over 8 years.
After the incident of gangrape of a paramedic student in a Delhi bus in December 2012, the case came up before the apex court which reversed the earlier High Court judgment.
An accused, Dharmarajan, was arrested after he spoke to a TV channel some months ago. Though Mr. Kurien was never made an accused in the case, the victim, who recognised him after his photograph appeared in a newspaper report, had alleged that he was among her tormentors.
A court in Idukki had in March this year rejected a plea by the victim for a re-probe into the alleged involvement of Mr. Kurien in the case, holding that there was no new ground for a fresh investigation.