A shocking incident unfolded at Ayodhya junction railway station on Wednesday when a 45-year-old woman head constable was discovered unconscious with multiple stab wounds in a general compartment of the Saryu Express.
A WhatsApp message regarding this incident was received by the Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker of Allahabad High Court at 3:25 pm on Sunday, whereafter a direction was given to constitute tha Bench at 8:00 pm at the residence of the Chief Justice to hear this matter. An intimation was also given to the office of the Advocate General about the constitution of this Bench.
A Division Bench of CJ Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava was constituted at the residence of the Chief Justice and hearing started at 8:00 pm.
A letter petition was presented by Sri Ram Kaushik, Advocate, espousing the cause of the prosecutrix (referred to as ‘X’) and giving the details of the gruesome incident and the injuries suffered by ‘X’. Apart from bringing certain facts on record, Sri Kaushik has also requested for taking suo moto cognizance in the matter of gruesome gang rape of ‘X’, who was on duty, inside Saryu Express in the intervening night of 30/31.08.2023 by some unknown assailants.
A request was also made by Sri Kaushik for hearing Union of India and its other wings. Sri Ram Kaushik has submitted that according to media report, the alleged incident was brought to light when certain passengers, who boarded Saryu Express from Ayodhya Junction at about 4:00 am. He submitted that ‘X’ was found in a deplorable state, in a pool of blood, unable to move herself with a deep cut on her face and injuries.
He added that based on a written complaint on behalf of the brother of ‘X’, FIR No. 0029 of 2023 on 30.8.2023 u/s 332, 353 and 307 of IPC has been registered. He also submitted that looking to the serious as well as physical condition of ‘X’, Sections 376/376D IPC should have also been added in the FIR.
It was further submitted by Sri Kaushik that the Railway
Authorities have completely failed to implement the various safety measures involving fundamental rights of the women. The present incident clearly shows the utter violation of the certain provisions of the Indian Railways Act. Moreover, the Railway Protection Force have also completely failed in discharge of their duties and responsibilities in giving effect to the rules and regulations formulated for the protection of passengers.
He further added that the present incident is not only a crime against ‘X’/women, but against the entire society and the same destroys the entire psychology of women.
Looking to the seriousness of the matter, the Court considered it appropriate to direct the office to register the letter as a public interest litigation (criminal).
The Court will hear this case today at 12 Noon.
As such following directions have been issued by the Court:
“Accordingly, Registry to register aforesaid letter as a public interest litigation (criminal). Issue notice to Union of India through its Secretary, Ministry of Railways/Railway Board, New Delhi, Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), State of Uttar Pradesh through its Secretary, Ministry of Home and State Commission for Women, Uttar Pradesh. Notices be issued from the Registry.
Put up this matter tomorrow, i.e. on 4.9.2023 at 12:00 noon. Sri A.K. Sand, learned Government Advocate may also inform the learned ASGI about this matter.
At the time of hearing, learned State counsel shall also place the case diary before the Court. The Investigating Officer is also required to remain present before the Court.”
The incident unfolded in the early hours of Wednesday when a passenger boarding the Saryu Express at Ayodhya junction discovered the head constable lying in a pool of blood beneath an empty general compartment berth.
The passenger promptly alerted a team from the Railway Protection Force (RPF), who then informed the GRP. Subsequently, the injured constable was swiftly transported to a local hospital in Ayodhya before being transferred to Lucknow for further medical care.
Pappu Yadav, the in-charge of Ayodhya Cantt police station, disclosed that the head constable was stationed in Sultanpur district with the women helpline cell. She had traveled to Ayodhya for duty at a location near Hanuman Garhi during the Sawan Mela. She boarded the Saryu Express at 9:15 pm on Tuesday from Sultanpur, with the original plan of disembarking at Ayodhya junction by 12:01 am on Wednesday, as her duty timings were scheduled for 3 am to 3 pm that day. However, it appears that she missed her stop and was returning from Mankapur junction when the horrific incident occurred.