The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court to dispose of an appeal in a case related to a gangrape in a Haryana private university within five months. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said its earlier direction, staying the order on suspension of the sentence in the case, will continue till the high court disposes of the appeal.
The court was hearing a plea by the woman, challenging the bail granted to the convicts in the case by the high court. The trial court had awarded 20 years imprisonment to two of the convicts for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including gang rape and criminal conspiracy, and the provisions of the Information Technology Act.
The third accused was awarded a seven-year jail term after being convicted in the case. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had suspended their sentences on the pleas filed by them and granted them bail. The apex court had on February 7 said it cannot tolerate “continuous blackmail” and asked the convicts to share the password of ‘iCloud’, where they had allegedly stored obscene photographs of the woman.
‘iCloud’ is a mobile application used for storing data, including photographs, videos, documents and music, and it is tough to hack it without a password. The apex court had earlier stayed the high court’s order suspending the sentence awarded to three convicts by the trial court. The woman had claimed in the FIR that she had taken admission in the private university in Sonepat in August 2013 and got acquainted with one of them.
She alleged that the convicts, who became good friends, raped and forced her to send her obscene pictures and blackmailed her. The woman claimed that the two others also raped her at the university campus after which she lodged an FIR in April 2015.