The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the death of 19-year-old Fathima Latheef, a student of IIT Madras. The first year student of the Department of Humanities and Social Studies from Kollam, Kerala had taken her life in her hostel room on November 9. Her parents had alleged that she had been pushed to take the extreme step owing to harassment from her professors. Following her death, student protests within and outside the campus demanded answers from the premier institute.
On Friday, a bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee dismissed a PIL filed by the National Students Union of India for a CBI probe into the issue reportedly on the grounds that it did not present enough evidence to make its case. The court directed IIT Madras to provide psychological counselling to its students.
The case, which was initially probed by the Chennai city police was shifted to the Central Crime Branch on November 14 following protests. The Kotturpuram police had initially registered an FIR under section 174 of CrPC (Police to enquire and report on suicide, etc).
The state government had argued that the Central Crime Branch team had two former CBI members in it. The probe team, led by former CBI DIG and the present Joint Commissioner of CCB, C Eswaramoorthy, also has former Assistant Commissioner of CBI Prabhakaran in it. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police for Crimes against women and children S Megalina is the investigating officer in the case
The court also dismissed a PIL by Saleem Madavoor, national president of the Loktantrik Yuva Janata Dal, from Kerala. He sought a CBI probe into all students suicides that have taken place at the institute since 2006. He had alleged that 14 students had committed suicide on campus reportedly due to discrimination on account of their caste, religion or language.