As Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sought a report from the Supreme Court Secretary-General on why the Unnao rape victim’s letter was not brought to his notice, the CBI Wednesday filed an FIR against Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, and nine others, including the son-in-law of a UP minister, on allegations that they orchestrated the accident that has left the woman in a critical condition.
Listing the Unnao matter for Thursday, CJI Gogoi, heading a bench with Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, remarked that it was “unfortunate” that the woman’s July 12 letter did not reach him earlier. Senior advocate V Giri brought the Unnao matter to the court’s notice.
Days before she was critically injured and her two aunts killed in a road accident, the Unnao woman, who has accused Sengar of sexual assault, had written a letter to the CJI, and other UP authorities, stating that she faced threats by the accused in the rape case.
“On mentioning, the matter is taken on board. List the matter tomorrow (on 1.8.2019) along with the report of the Registry in respect of the administrative order passed by the Chief Justice of India yesterday with regard to the letter written by the victim in Unnao Rape Case, which the media has reported to have been received in the Registry on 17.7.2019,” the bench directed.
“The Secretary General to explain why if the said letter has been received on 17.7.2019, the same was not put up either before the Bench on the judicial side or before the Chief Justice of India on the administrative side until 4.00 pm yesterday.”
Earlier, the CBI booked Sengar, along with Arun Singh, son-in-law of UP Minister Ranvendra Pratap Singh “Dhunni”, and eight others in connection with the accident probe. A special CBI team formed to probe the case visited the accident site in the Gurubakshganj area of Rae Bareli district. The team inspected the crime scene and the truck which had hit the car the woman, her lawyer and aunts were travelling in.
In the SC, stating that he had already issued an order to the Registry regarding the letter Tuesday, CJI Gogoi also took exception to media reports which, he said, seemed to imply that the court had not acted on it.
“Today, I saw media reports which seem to suggest as if the Chief Justice did not do anything about it,” the CJI said, adding “I have not seen the letter. I was informed about it yesterday at 4 pm and have sought a report”.
The CJI observed that “we try to do something constructive in a highly volatile destructive environment but this happens”.
Giri is assisting the court as amicus curiae in a suo motu case registered by the court to find ways to avoid delays in the investigation and trial of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Urging the court to take it up, Giri told the bench that he was informed by some NGOs and also the case attracted POCSO as the victim was a minor at the time of the sexual assault.
In her letter to authorities, including the CJI, the woman stated that on July 7, some people allegedly associated with Sengar threatened her family with dire consequences. It also sought directions for registration of an FIR against those who had intimidated her family.
The Indian Express reported Wednesday that an SC bench of Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer had issued notices to the CBI and the accused in the case on a plea by the woman’s mother seeking transfer of four cases currently being heard by a CBI Special Judge in Lucknow to Delhi.