12YO Girl’s Rape And Murder : Constitute Permanent SITs In All Districts Within 48 Hours For Dealing With “Sensitive Matters”: Uttarakhand HC [Read Order]
The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of the rape and murder of a twelve-year-old girl in Uttarkashi.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj K. Tiwari also appointed Advocates Sanjay Bhatt and Lata Negi as the amicus curiae in the case.
The Court took cognizance of two reports published in Times of India, titled “Uttarkashi rape: NH blocked for 10 hours” and “City residents march to demand death penalty for rapists of Uttarkashi girl”.
Besides taking stock of the situation from the two reports, the Court noted that the news reports also call for land reforms by restricting outsiders from purchasing agricultural land in Uttarakhand. To this end, the report refers to Section-118 of Himachal Land Reforms and Tenancy Act, which restricts outsiders from buying land in the hill State.
It further recalled that it had directed the State Government to consider amending the law to introduce death penalty for those convicted of raping minors, adding, “The State Government, till date, has not made its stand clear in the matter.”
While the Court was informed by Mr. Paresh Tripathi, Chief Standing Counsel, that the accused was arrested yesterday and will be produced before the Court within 24 hours, it nevertheless opined that the inquiry and investigation in such “sensitive matters” should be carried out by permanent Special Investigation Teams.
It therefore directed the case to be handed over to the Special Investigation Team, Uttarkashi, which is expected to complete the inquiry and investigation in the matter within four weeks and thereafter, to submit the charge-sheet. The media was further prohibited from divulging the name/ identity of the victim and her family members, including their blurred pictures.
Listing the matter on 31 August, the Court then issued the following directions:
Permanent SITs within 48 hours
- The Principal Secretary (Home) to the State of Uttarakhand is directed to constitute Special Investigation Teams in all the Districts of Uttarakhand within 48 hours, comprising of the following:-
- Senior Superintendent of Police/Superintendent of Police.
- Additional Superintendent of Police/Circle Officer (CO)/Inspector.
- Inspector of Police (Woman).
- Woman Social Worker.
Handing over the case to a SITThe present matter is ordered to be handed over to the Special Investigation Team, Uttarkashi immediately after constitution of Special Investigation Team, with a direction, to complete the inquiry and investigation in the matter within four weeks and thereafter, to submit the charge-sheet. Till then, the investigation is permitted to be carried out by the local police.
Speedy trial in all such casesAll the Trial Courts throughout State of Uttarakhand are directed to ensure speedy trial of cases registered under Section 376 I.P.C as well as under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), by holding day to day trial.
State’s response on land reformsState Government is directed to file its response as to whether it is contemplating to prohibit outsiders from purchasing agricultural land in the State of Uttarakhand.
Protection to victims and their familiesState Government is directed to provide protection to the victims and close family members of the victims in rape cases.
Prohibition against divulging victim’s or family members’ identitySocial media is prohibited from divulging the name/identity of the victim and her family members, including their blurred pictures.
Read the Order Here