The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to serve a notice on Uttar Pradesh minister and Samajwadi party leader Azam Khan to explain his alleged comments that the Bulandshahr gang rape incident in which a minor girl and her mother were victims was a “political conspiracy” to malign his party-led government in the state.
A bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit expressed anger that Khan did not enter appearance in the matter before the apex court despite a notice served on him. “He should have deputed an advocate on his behalf. The CBI shall serve a notice and copy of petition on him”, said the bench.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh told the bench that it was surprising that state government did not represent its minister. At this juncture the bench said the minister may well have even made the remark in his personal capacity "We do not know. we will look into it"
The court has adjourned the matter for October 25 as the next date of hearing.
The bench was acting on a petition filed by the minor victim seeking criminal prosecution of Khan for the comments and transfer of the trial of the case outside the state.
The bench had on August 29 framed four questions including “Whether the statements do come within the ambit and sweep of freedom of speech and expression or exceed the boundary that is not permissible”.They are:
(a) When a victim files an F.I.R. alleging rape, gang rape or murder or such other heinous offences against another person or group of persons, whether any individual holding a public office or a person in authority or in-charge of governance, should be allowed to comment on the crime stating that “it is an outcome of political controversy”, more so, when as an individual, he has nothing to do with the offences in question?
(b) Should the “State”, the protector of citizens and responsible for law and order situation, allow these comments as they have the effect potentiality to create a distrust in the mind of the victim as regards the fair investigation and, in a way, the entire system?
(c) Whether the statements do come within the ambit and sweep of freedom of speech and expression or exceed the boundary that is not permissible?
(d) Whether such comments (which are not meant for self protection) defeat the concept of constitutional compassion and also conception of constitutional sensitivity?
Allahabad HC on August 12 ordered a CBI inquiry into the case observing that it was not satisfied with the police investigation so far.
The High Court, which had taken suo motu cognizance of the July 29 incident, also said it intended to "monitor the investigation into the case".
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.B. Bhosale and Justice Yashwant Varma of the HC passed the order a day after the state government submitted a status report on the investigation into the incident in a sealed cover.
The incident had taken place when six members of a Noida-based family were travelling to Shahjahanpur in western Uttar Pradesh.
At the National Highway passing through Bulandshahr, their car was stopped by criminals, who dragged the 13-year-old girl and her mother out and raped them in a field nearby.
The girl and her mother, along with her family, was going to a funeral late on July 29, when armed men stopped their car, tied and beat up the men and gang-raped the girl and her 35-year-old mother for almost three hours.