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Hathras gangrape: Supreme Court asks Allahabad HC to monitor CBI probe

The Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday left it to the Allahabad High Court to monitor the CBI investigation into the alleged gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four upper-caste accused persons in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.

Also read | UP Special Task Force to probe conspiracy angle in Hathras case

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, in a 16-page verdict, concluded that there was no need to divest the Lucknow Bench of the High Court of the case to directly monitor the case itself.

Without expressing any opinions on the facts of the case and the allegations made, the apex court left it open for the High Court to consider the CBI probe and grievances about the “illegal cremation”. The CBI has to report to the High Court about its progress.

The apex court said the High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case and passed a detailed order on October 1.

Also read | Two AMU doctors ‘sacked’ over speaking to media in Hathras case

“The High Court has adequately delved into the aspects relating to the case to secure fair investigation and has also secured the presence of the father, mother, brother and sister-in-law of the victim and appropriate orders are being passed, including securing reports from various quarters. In that circumstance, we do not find it necessary to divest the High Court of the proceedings and take upon this Court to monitor the proceedings/investigation”, the judgment said.

The court, moreover, said since the incident occurred within the jurisdiction of the High Court, it would be “appropriate” for the High Court to monitor the probe “in the manner in which it would desire”.

The court said there was no need to transfer the trial to Delhi for the time being as the CBI had taken over the investigation and there was “no room for apprehensions at this stage”. The central agency took over the probe on October 11.

Also read: Hathras gang rape | In video, victim says she was raped

The Bench said it would be appropriate if the probe was completed first. However, it kept the question of transfer of trial open for consideration, if required, in the future.

The court gave liberty to the petitioners to approach the High Court with their respective pleas regarding the manner in which she lost her life and how she was cremated in the middle of the night allegedly in the absence of her relatives.

CRPF security

The court said it felt that adequate security for the victim’s family and witnesses have been provided by the State police. The Bench, however, to address the “normal perception and pessimism which cannot be said as being without justification”, ordered security arrangements to be transferred to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has to swing into action within a week.

Also read: Hathras gang rape case | CBI removes FIR from website

It directed the State Chief Secretary to forthwith communicate the order to a competent CRPF officer. A status report will be filed in the High Court in this regard.

The order of transfer of security duties should not be construed to be casting an aspersion on the State police, the court stressed. “The step is to be seen only as a ‘confidence-building measure’,” the Bench recorded.

The court found no need to pass any specific orders for the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor as sought by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for some women advocates.

Also read: Hathras gang rape | CBI takes over probe

“This is an aspect which could be considered by the High Court in the light of the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes [Prevention of Atrocities] Act, 1989”, the court said.

It was up to the lawyers of the victim’s family, advocates Seema Kushwaha and Raj Ratan, to consider these aspects and make a request on behalf of the family “if such need arises”.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:35:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hathras-gangrape-supreme-court-asks-allahabad-hc-to-monitor-cbi-probe/article32952442.ece

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