The Supreme Court on Monday took note of a plea of the father of the Bulandshahr gang rape victim plea that the trial in the case be shifted out of Uttar Pradesh, and issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and Minister Azam Khan in the matter.
A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan, also took note of the controversial statement of Mr.Khan that the incident was a “political conspiracy”, as the plea sought registration of an FIR against him.
The court appointed jurist and senior lawyer F.S. Nariman as amicus curiae in the matter, which will now be taken up after three weeks.
The court framed several constitutional questions, including whether a person, holding public office, can give a statement that may create “distrust” in the minds of the victims about a fair probe in the case and whether such a statement can be a part of freedom of speech and expression.
The man, whose wife was also gang-raped along with his daughter last month on a highway, on August 13 moved the apex court seeking the transfer of the case to Delhi “in the interest of justice“.
The brutal incident happened on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of the Noida-based family and sexually assaulted the woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle.
The Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the incident besides deciding to monitor the investigation.
In the plea filed in the apex court through lawyer Kislay Pandey, the petitioner said the probe should be conducted by “some other competent agency”.
The plea said Mr. Khan's statement “substantially outrages” the “modesty” of the victims and their family. It sought “appropriate damages” for the victims besides a direction that the State and others, including the DGP, be stopped from infringing on the fundamental right to life of the victims. “Direct the respondents [State Home Secretary, Mr. Khan, DGP and SSP of Bulandshahr) to pay the appropriate damages to the petitioner as per law,” it said.
The plea alleged that the police did not come for help despite the victims making several distress calls on the helpline number.
“The victim dialled ‘100’ number after the incident to seek help from police but it did not help at all,” it said. It sought “direct registration of an FIR against erring police officials for disobeying directions of law in the present case.”
The plea said, “Azam Khan called a press conference and publicly insulted petitioner by terming the entire incident a political conspiracy only and nothing else and thereby caused various acts and deeds being substantially outrageous to the modesty of the petitioner.”
It said that six members of the family were travelling from Noida to Shahjahanpur on National Highway 91 when they were waylaid, assaulted and robbed.
The offenders, who were hiding behind the bushes, emerged and took the family at gunpoint and forced the father of the victim to take the vehicle off the road, it said.
The mother and daughter were raped barely 100 meters away from the police post, it said, adding that the offenders snatched cash to the tune of Rs. 36,000 and some jewellery from the victims.