Taking suo motu cognisance of the Hathras incident, a Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court on Thursday issued notices to the additional chief secretary (Home), director general of police, ADGP (Law and Order), Hathras DM and district police superintendent to appear before it on October 12 to explain their version with requisite materials.
The bench has also directed the officials to produce status of the probe in the matter.
The bench clarified that it was keeping open the transfer of the investigation to any other agency if it was not satisfied with the version of the top government officials.
Passing its order High Court division bench, comprising justice Rajan Roy and justice Jaspreet Singh stated “We have also pondered that an SIT has been constituted by the state government in the matter, we leave it open for our consideration on future dates, as to the necessity of monitoring the investigation or getting it conducted through an independent agency as per law,”
The bench passed the order after taking suo motu notice of the incident reported in different newspapers and TV news channels all medias uniformly narrated about a 19-year-old girl was first subjected to gang-rape and later the local police and district administration cremated her body hurriedly in an inhuman manner.
“The incidents which took place after the death of the victim on September 29, 2020, leading to her cremation, as alleged, have shocked our conscience, therefore, we are taking suo motu cognisance of the same,” the judges said in the order.
The bench also asked the newspapers and news channels to produce relevant materials and contents, on the basis of which they have reported about the aforesaid incident, in a CD or pen drive, for its assistance.
The judges said that they were inclined to examine as to whether there had been gross violation of the fundamental rights of the deceased victim and her family members and whether the state authorities acted oppressively highhandedly and illegally to violate such rights .
The judges further added: “If it is found to be so, then, this would be a case where accountability will not only have to be fixed but for future guidance also stern action would be required.”
The bench also observed: “The rights of individual citizens in the country and the state, especially that of the poor and the downtrodden such as the family members of the deceased victim and the deceased herself, are paramount and the courts of law are under a bounden duty to see that the said rights available under the Constitution are protected at all costs and the state does not in its misplaced endeavor for political or administrative reasons transgress the limits of its powers to encroach and violate such rights, especially in the case of poor and the weak.”
The bench also said that it would like to examine as to whether the economic and social status of the deceased’s family has been taken advantage of by the state authorities to oppress and deprive them of their Constitutional rights.
The bench also asked the family members of the victim to appear before the court on October 12. It directed the Hathras administration to facilitate the family members for this.
Besides putting the state government’s top officials on notice, the bench also asked its registry to communicate the order to advocate general and chief standing counsel.
The bench also appointed senior advocate JN Mathur and Abhinav Bhattacharya to assist the court it in this matter that shook the conscience of Indian people.