Thanjavur student death | SC to hear case on Monday

Supreme Court of India. File

Supreme Court of India. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court on Monday is scheduled to hear an appeal filed by Tamil Nadu to stay a Madras High Court order transferring the investigation into the death by suicide of a 17-year-old student at Thanjavur to the CBI, amid controversy sparked by a private video on social media in which the girl allegedly said she was asked to convert to Christianity.

The case is before a Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi.

The State government, represented by advocate Joseph S. Aristotle, has argued that there was no reason for the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court to hand over the case to the central agency.

The Tamil Nadu Government has challenged a series of interim orders passed by the High Court on January 21, 22 and 24. It has also asked the apex court to set aside the January 31 order of the High Court transferring the case to CBI along with expunging certain observations made by the single judge, including that the police were attempting to “derail” the investigation.

The State contended that the interim orders had interfered with the fair and impartial probe into the death. The police investigation had travelled far. Statements of several witnesses had already been taken. The student’s father has meanwhile filed a caveat in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Aristotle said the dying declarations made by the student, even to the Magistrate, “did not talk about any conversion”. He contended in the appeal that the private video had surfaced after she died on January 19. He argued that the much-criticised press conference held by the District Police Superintendent was based on preliminary inquiries, at which point there was no material to suggest attempts at conversion. The police officer had conveyed that the probe would cover all the angles in the case.

The High Court had transferred the investigation to the CBI on the basis of a petition filed by the girl’s father, who alleged that the police were “pressuring” him, and the person who recorded the video in question.

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Printable version | Aug 27, 2022 2:02:14 am |