The Supreme Court, on Thursday, directed the State to deposit Rs. 5 lakhs with the Court Registry in the matter concerning a Khap Panchayat diktat for rape of two Dalit women. The Panchayat had ordered the two sisters to be raped and paraded naked after blackening their faces as retaliation to her brother eloping with a married girl from the upper-caste Jat community.
As per the Petition filed by the woman, her brother and the married woman from the Jat community had eloped, but had to return soon after due to continued pressure from the girl's family and the UP Police. However, after their return, the petitioner's brother was allegedly implicated in a false narcotics case and was subsequently arrested. She had further submitted that her family members were also abducted and tortured by the Police.
Around the same time, humans rights organization, Amnesty International had also started a petition to save the sisters from being raped and publicly humiliated.
“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the Amnesty petition had said, adding, “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”
Having examined the incident, the Bench comprising Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Thursday noted that no contraband was recovered from the Petitioner's brother. It further noted that as per the statement made by the married woman, there had been "no untoward incident" and she did not have any relationship with him. It, therefore, permitted the Police to file a closure report in this regard.
The Court then directed the State to deposit a sum of Rs. 5 lakh to "compensate for the agony through which Ravi and his family members gone through on account of cases being foisted on them". After the deposit of the amount within 10 days, the Court would determine the beneficiaries of this or any further compensation.
It further expressed its "complete dissatisfaction" with an affidavit pinning the blame of filing false cases against the accused man on one Police Officer. Opining that the role of other officials in filing such cases against the accused needs to be looked into, it ordered,
"We must express our complete dissatisfaction of the affidavit dated 2.4.2018 to the extent that the police authorities seems to be satisfied with a censure against Sub Inspector Aman Singh as a culmination of these false cases foisted on Ravi. It is not clear if he alone was responsible or other officers are also involved. In this context, we may note the transcript filed of conversation which seek to suggest a wider role of different police officials in this process.
It is necessary to determine the complicity of these police officers for which a suitable superior officer is to be appointed as envisaged under Section 36 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973."
The matter has now been directed to be listed after 10 days.