The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Allahabad High Court to monitor all aspects including the CBI investigation into the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four upper-caste men from Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that a request to transfer the trial out of Uttar Pradesh “has been left open” until the investigation is completed. The apex court said that it felt it is appropriate for the high court to monitor the case, because the court is already examining a suo moto proceeding on the “hurried cremation” of the victim.
The court did not intervene in the safety cordon in place for the protection of the victim’s family members and witnesses. Any further changes required in the safety measures would be taken care of by the High Court.
The Bench expressed confidence in the CBI’s ability to conduct a free and fair investigation, saying there would be “no room” to conclude otherwise.
The order came on a PIL filed by social activist Satyama Dubey demanding a court-monitored probe the death of the Dalit girl who died on September 29 at a hospital in Delhi.
The top court, which passed the verdict on a batch of pleas which sought the transfer of the trial from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi as several lawyers, including lawyer-activist Indira Jaising, claimed that a fair trial was not possible in Uttar Pradesh. They alleged the probe had been muddled up, said that CBI would file the status report in the case before the high court.
Four upper-caste men in Hathras allegedly raped the 19-year-old Dalit girl on September 14. She later succumbed to died due to multiple injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The victim was reportedly cremated near her home on September 30, without her family’s consent. The incident angered the whole nation, with multiple protests held across the country. However, officials said, the cremation was done “as per the wish of the family.”
Many activists and Opposition had been showing a consternation in the way the case was probed. The rising number of rape case amid the coronavirus pandemic crisis made people question Government and its policy.