The Allahabad High Court will monitor the CBI probe into the Hathras case — in which a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped and murdered last month — and the girl’s family and witnesses will now be provided CRPF security, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
The court, which was hearing petitions seeking an SC-monitored CBI or SIT probe and transfer of trial from UP to Delhi, said it would be appropriate for the CBI to complete its investigation and a transfer of trial may be discussed if the need arises in future.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and also including Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramaian, noted that the state government had taken sufficient steps to provide security to the victim’s family and witnesses but said they should be given CRPF protection “to address the normal perception and pessimism” in a crime of such a nature.
The bench said the HC had already registered a suo motu PIL in the matter.
“…it is noticed that the High Court has adequately delved into the aspects relating to the case to secure fair investigation and has also secured the presence of the father, mother, brother and sister-in-law of the victim and appropriate orders are being passed…”
“In that circumstance, we do not find it necessary to divest the High Court of the proceedings … That apart, the incident having occurred within the jurisdiction of that High Court and all particulars being available, it would be appropriate for the High Court to proceed to monitor the investigation in the manner in which it would desire,” the bench said in its order.
Disposing of applications seeking the court’s intervention and raising concern over the incident and manner in which the victim was cremated, the bench said the parties may present their case before the HC.
“… Without expressing any opinion on the merits of the rival contentions, all aspects of the matter are left open to be considered by the High Court in PIL… relating to the incident regarding which the investigation is to be conducted by the CBI and also with regard to the grievance put forth alleging illegal cremation,” the SC said.
On the plea for transfer of trial, the court said it could be considered if the need arises.
On the UP government’s affidavit on details of security provided to the victim’s family and witnesses, the court said “the affidavit as filed no doubt indicates that sufficient steps have been taken by the state government to provide protection”.
“However… without casting any aspersions on the security personnel of the State Police; in order to allay all apprehensions… 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 court said, asking the Chief Secretary to inform the CRPF, which will report the same to the HC.
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