Aggrieved Over UP Police’s ‘Inaction & Dishonest’ Probe, Gang rape Victim Moves SC
A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by a gang rape victim for the enforcement of her fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution in respect of the grave offence committed against her and the dishonest investigation conducted by the Uttar Pradesh state police.
The petitioner, a resident of a village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, is aggrieved of inaction on the part of the police and her failure to get relief at the behest of both the trial court as well as the Allahabad High Court.
The present petitioner was allegedly gang raped at gunpoint on September 13, 2016, at her residence by the accused, being the petitioner’s neighbour and having a property dispute with her husband. On complaining the incident at the jurisdictional police station on the same day, the police officials allegedly threatened the petitioner and her husband with dire consequences and proceeded to merely lodge a non-cognizable report in respect of minor offences of ‘voluntary hurt’ and ‘intentional insult provoking breach of peace’ under sections 323 and 504, respectively, of the IPC.
The petitioner was also not made to go undergo a medical examination as mandated under the CrPC to ensure proper relief and the police continued to allow the destruction and concealment of relevant evidence for the sake of the accused, who are affluent and influential property dealers. The Senior Superintendent of Police of Aligarh also refused to look into the undesirable and unwarranted activities of the officials at the police station.
Finally, on September 23, 2016, at the direction of the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, on account of a complaint made by the petitioner’s husband on Jan Sunwai portal of the state government, an FIR was registered under sections 323, 376 D, 452 and 506 of the IPC. It was only 15 days after the alleged incident that the medical examination of the victim was conducted and clothes and other samples were sent to the forensic science laboratory.
The statement of the petitioner was also recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC However, the charge sheet dated December 12, 2016, submitted before the trial court was only in respect of minor offences of hurt, intentional insult and criminal intimidation under sections 323, 504 and 506 IPC. The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Aligarh, also approved of the dropping of the charges of gangrape and ‘house trespass with hurt, assault or wrongful restraint’ under sections 376 D and 452, respectively, of the IPC against the accused, despite the examination of the victim under Section 164 of the CrPC.
On the filing of a protest petition against the December 2016 charge sheet in February this year, the reinvestigation conducted in respect of the said FIR was closed only after a few formalities without even recording any statement of the victim or other witnesses, and a charge sheet dated June 18 was drawn on the same lines as the earlier charge sheet. Consequently, the protest petition was rejected by the magistrate on August 23 with an observation that the cognizance in respect of the offences having already been taken, the said protest petition cannot be entertained.
In addition, persistent complaints of the petitioner regarding several instances of assault and criminal intimidation of herself and her family by the accused at every stage of the police investigation and judicial proceedings have been continuously ignored by the local police. The writ petition instituted before the Allahabad High Court on January 6 by the husband of the petitioner on grounds of the inaction on the part of police officers and Investigation Officer was also dismissed on January 19, without even considering the facts and circumstances of the case.
The petition before the Supreme Court averred,
“The accused use the power of money to bribe police officials to discourage or refuse registering of FIRs against them. If at all any FIR is registered, the Investigating Officer is sufficiently bribed to either file a final report indicating that no offence was committed or charge sheet is filed for minor offences.”
Further, it lamented that “by taking cognizance and approving of dropping of sections 376 D and 452 of the IPC, the magistrate has acted as a post office of the police department”.
The petition also stated that the Investigating Officer could not have ignored the statement made under Section 164, CrPC before a magistrate in filing the charge sheet and excluding the offences under sections 376 D and 452 of the IPC.
The petitioner before the top court prayed for the quashing of the charge sheet dated June 18, and ordering a fresh investigation into the matter by an independent agency.