[BREAKING] Allahabad High Court Takes Suo Motu Cognizance of Hathras Incident

Today Allahabad High Court at Lucknow has taken Suo Motu Cognizance of Hathras Matter.

A Bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Jaspreet Singh has passed the order and took cognizance of the horrific incident.

The Court started by quoting Gandhi Ji and said tomorrow is Gandhi Jayanti and we are reminded of the words of the Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi whose heart bled for the weak and downtrodden.

The order says

Today, we find ourselves constrained to take cognizance of an extremely sensitive and important matter touching upon the basic human/fundamental rights of the citizens of this country and residents of this State based on certain newspaper items and programs shown in the audio-visual media, according to which, a young girl of 19 years, a resident of District – Hathras in the State of U.P. was subjected to gang rape and in this process not only her bones were broken but her tongue was also mutilated presumably with the intent that she may not disclose the names of the perpetrators of this abominable crime.

The incident has evoked disgust amongst the Public at large as is borne out from newspapers, TV channel programs and has been condemned by all. Another unfortunate aspect of the matter is that the victim fought for life for almost two weeks but ultimately she succumbed to on 29.09.2020 at Safdurjung Hospital, New Delhi. It is said that the alleged perpetrators of the crime have been apprehended and some SIT has been formed by the State Government to investigate the matter.

However, for the moment, we are concerned with what has happened thereafter. The incidents which took place after the death of the victim on 29.09.2020 leading up to her cremation, as alleged, have shocked our conscience, therefore, we are taking suo moto cognizance of the same.

Court referred to Judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court reported in (1995) 3 SCC 248; Pt. Parmanand Katara Vs. Union of Inida (UOI) and Others; where the Hon’ble Supreme Court had an occasion to consider various facets of the Right to Life enshrined under the Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The State of U.P. through Additional Chief Secretary (Home), the Director General of Police, U.P., Lucknow, Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, U.P., Lucknow, District Magistrate, Hathras, Superintendent of Police, Hathras have been arrayed as opposite parties in the said Petition.

Court has appointed Shri Jaideep Narain Mathur, learned Senior Advocate and Shri Abhinav Bhattacharya, Advocate, who are practicing lawyers of this Court, as Amicus Curie and requested them to assist the Court in the matter.

Court further directed the Senior Registrar of the Court at Lucknow to obtain the addresses of The Times of India, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala, India TV, Aaj Tak, NDTV and TV Today and Times Now from the Director, Information, U.P., Lucknow and communicate this order to them with the request to produce relevant material and content, on the basis of which they have reported the matter in the newspapers and the electronic media about the aforesaid incident, in a Compact Disc or Pen Drive, for the assistance of this Court.

It is further directed to List this case on 12.10.2020. On the said date the Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police, U.P. Lucknow, Additional Director General, Law and Order, U.P., District Magistrate, Hathras, Superintendent of Police, Hathras shall appear before theCourt and put forth their version with support of requisite material.

They shall also apprise the Court about the status of the investigation relating to the crime against the deceased victim.

It has further been directed that family members of the deceased victim i.e. the father, the mother, brothers and sisters shall also be present before this Court so that this Court ascertains the facts and their version of the incidents which took place at the time of cremation.

In this regard Court directed the District Judge, Hathras to ensure that the said family members are present before the Court on the date fixed.

Case Details:-

Title: In Re : Right to decent and dignified last rites/cremation”

Case No. PIL Civil 16150 of 2020

Date of order: 01.10.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice Rajan Roy and Hon’ble Justice Jaspreet Singh

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