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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Hathras case: SC reserves order on court-monitored investigation

The family’s lawyer also said the case should be transferred to a Delhi court once the probe is complete.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | October 16, 2020 2:27:53 am
Security has been beefed up in Hathras village. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna/File)

The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its order on a plea seeking a court-monitored investigation into the Hathras case, but observed orally that the Allahabad High Court could supervise the matter. Meanwhile, senior advocates expressed dissatisfaction with the protection provided by the Uttar Pradesh government to the family of the 19-year-old Dalit victim—who died after allegedly being raped and brutalised by four upper-caste men in her village—and sought the deployment of CRPF troops instead.

The family’s lawyer also said the case should be transferred to a Delhi court once the probe is complete.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police, made it clear that the state has no objection to any security arrangement that would be deemed fit by the court.

“Whoever your Lordships may feel will protect the family, court may order but it should be a reflection on the state. We have not opposed anything,” he told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde.

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramaian, was hearing a plea by activist Satyama Dubey, and advocates Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav, seeking a probe into the case by the CBI or a court-appointed SIT. The CBI has already taken over the investigation.

Salve was responding to submissions by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who, appearing for a group of women lawyers, requested the court to order protection for the family and witnesses by the CRPF rather than the police. The state cops had hurriedly cremated the victim at her village without allowing the family to be present.

“It is the government against whom they have a grievance… they cannot be allowed to give protection,” Jaising told the bench.

The Uttar Pradesh government had Wednesday told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that a three-fold security mechanism, including armed police constabulary personnel, CCTVs, and guards, had been devised for the protection of the family of the teen, who died at a Delhi hospital on September 29.

In the same affidavit, it had also urged the court to direct the CBI to submit fortnightly status reports on the probe to the state, so that the DGP can file the same in court. But on Thursday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, urged the court to “ignore” the prayer.

Mehta also said the family wanted the SC to monitor the investigation and added that the state was in agreement on this.

“We need not…We are here as the ultimate supervisory body. Let the (Allahabad) HC do (monitor) it. We are here,” said Chief Justice Bobde.

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