Hathras rape case: SC reserves order on safety for sufferer’s household, monitoring probe and shifting of trial

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a number of pleas seeking protection for victim’s family and shifting of trial to Delhi in the Hathras rape case.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also reserved its verdict on which court should monitor the investigation – the Supreme Court or the Allahabad High Court.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has already recommended a CBI probe into the case even as it denied that the 19-year-old Dalit woman was raped by four men in Hathras on September 14.

The woman had died on September 29 at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital during treatment and her body was cremated at night near her home on September 30.

While hearing a PIL on the issue, CJI Bobde had on October 6 termed the incident as “shocking, extraordinary and horrible” and asked the UP Government to spell out if a witness protection plan was in place and if the family had hired an advocate.

On Thursday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court on behalf of the state government that a three-fold protection mechanism was in place for the victim’s family and witnesses. He said the victim’s family had engaged advocate Seema Kushwaha to represent them.

As some of the petitioners and intervenors demanded deployment of CRPF, instead of state police, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the UP DGP, said the court should record that it was not a reflection on the state police.

Mehta wanted the top court to monitor the probe but the court hinted that the High Court should do it.

As advocate Aparna Bhat, representing activist Teesta Setalvad, tried to make submissions, Mehta said, “No one should be allowed to collect funds in the name of the victim.”

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