Today's Paper

SC transfers Unnao cases to Delhi court

The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred five cases of crimes committed against the Unnao rape survivor and her family from a CBI court in Lucknow to its counterpart in Delhi and ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to pay her Rs. 25 lakh in interim compensation.

A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, ordered the trial in the Unnao cases to be held on a day-to-day basis and completed within 45 days.

The court went the extra mile to zero in on District Judge Dinesh Sharma as the trial judge.

Chargesheets filed

Four of these cases include the rape of the minor in 2017; a false case foisted on her father under the Arms Act by conniving police officers; the custodial death of the survivor’s father after he was arrested in the Arms case; and a second instance of gang rape of the survivor.

Though the CBI has filed chargesheets in the four cases, the Lucknow court is yet to frame charges against the accused persons.

The fifth case concerns the “accident” on July 28 when a truck rammed into a car carrying the now 19-year-old rape survivor.

Letter seeks help

Days before the accident, she had reached out to the CJI in a letter. But her cry for help largely remained unnoticed in the court’s Registry for almost a fortnight.

Her letter, dated July 12, had spelt out threats to her life and her family from the accused persons, which include Kuldeep Singh Sengar, four-time BJP MLA from Bangermau.

The letter landed at the Registry on July 17, but did not reach the CJI’s table till July 30 — well after the ‘accident’ on Sunday.

The ‘accident’ killed two of her aunts accompanying her in the car and left her and her lawyer critically injured.

The victim is on ventilator support at King George’s Medical College and Hospital in Lucknow. The CBI is investigating suspicions of foul play.

The court ordered the CBI to complete its probe into the ‘accident’ case in the next seven days.

Directive to CBI

As an exception, it said, the CBI could take another week. But under no circumstance should the probe extend beyond a fortnight.

The agency, represented by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, initially sought a month’s time to complete the probe.

“A month? You have seven days… you do what you have to do within that time,” Chief Justice Gogoi retorted.

The court also ordered protection for the girl and her family by personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at the urging of its amicus curiae V. Giri.

Mr. Giri said the girl was in the hospital with just her mother to attend to her. The family was not financially well off.

The State should pay her an “exemplary” compensation, he said.

But the Uttar Pradesh government initially protested that it would pay a compensation only “as per statute”.

“What is happening in this country? You want the Supreme Court to follow statutes to order compensation?” the CJI said. The court finally fixed Rs. 25 lakh as the interim compensation. It ordered the U.P. government to pay the amount on August 2.

The morning’s hearing saw the court insist on getting a complete low-down on the Unnao cases and the status of the CBI probe into them.

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