Hathras case: SC orders CRPF protection to victim's family, witnesses

Supreme Court has asked the Allahabad High Court to monitor the probe by the CBI, which is investigating the case.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered CRPF protection to the family of the Hathras victim, who died after she was allegedly raped by four dominant caste men last month. The court was hearing a plea seeking a probe by a Special Investigation Team in the case. The Supreme Court ruled that the Allahabad High Court will monitor the probe by the CBI, which is investigating the case.

“In that view, without casting any aspersions on the security personnel of the State Police; in order to allay all apprehensions and only as a confidence building measure, we find it appropriate to direct that the security to the victim’s family and the witnesses shall be provided by the CRPF within a week from today,” the Supreme Court bench, comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said.

The SC said that it is convinced that steps have been taken by the state government to make adequate arrangement for security to the victim’s family and witnesses but that in a matter of the present nature, “it is necessary to address the normal perception and pessimism which cannot be said as being without justification."

The Supreme Court has asked the Chief Secretary, State of Uttar Pradesh to bring the order to the notice of the competent officer of the CRPF with a request to provide adequate security to the victim’s family and the witnesses and directed that the CRPF take steps to provide the same and report the same to the Allahabad High Court.

Asking the Allahabad High Court to monitor the CBI probe into the Hathras case, the Supreme Court said that the CBI shall report to the High Court from time to time. The bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said the plea for transfer of trial in the case from out of Uttar Pradesh would be considered after the CBI probe is over. The top court, which passed the verdict on a batch of pleas by activists and lawyers claiming that a fair trial is not possible in Uttar Pradesh as the probe has allegedly been botched up, said that CBI will file the status report in the case before the high court.

The bench also considered the request of Uttar Pradesh government and asked the Allahabad High Court to delete the victim's name from one of its orders on a PIL pending there.

The 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14. She died on September 29 at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital during treatment.

The victim was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on September 30. Her family alleged they were forced by the local police to hurriedly conduct her last rites. Local police officers, however, said the cremation was carried out "as per the wishes of the family".

The apex court had on October 15 reserved its verdict on the pleas in the matter. The lawyer, appearing for the victim's family, had told the top court that trial in the case be shifted out of Uttar Pradesh to a court in the national capital after completion of investigation. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had referred to the affidavit filed in the apex court by the Uttar Pradesh government which gave details about the security and protection provided to the victim's family and witnesses in the case.

The state government, which has already transferred the case to the CBI and given consent to monitoring by the apex court, had filed the affidavit after the top court sought details on witness protection and whether the victim's family has chosen a lawyer. Referring to the compliance affidavit, Mehta had said that they have engaged a lawyer and also requested that government advocate should also pursue the case on their behalf.

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