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'Custody Of Minor Rape Victim Can't Be Given To Accused's Kin': Gauhati High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance, Stays Lower Court Order

Nupur Thapliyal
13 July 2021 4:35 AM GMT
Custody Of Minor Rape Victim Cant Be Given To Accuseds Kin: Gauhati High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance, Stays Lower Court Order
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Dealing with a suo moto case concerning the plight of a minor rape victim, the Gauhati High Court has stayed a trial court's order grating the victim's custody to accused's sister in law after observing that the same will not be in the interest of the victim girl.The girl, aged about 12-15 years, working as a domestic help, was allegedly raped and sexually abused by the house owner. She...

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Dealing with a suo moto case concerning the plight of a minor rape victim, the Gauhati High Court has stayed a trial court's order grating the victim's custody to accused's sister in law after observing that the same will not be in the interest of the victim girl.

The girl, aged about 12-15 years, working as a domestic help, was allegedly raped and sexually abused by the house owner. She was brought from Nepal as a domestic help in the year 2017. 

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak took the suo moto cognizance after a missing report was filed by one Aka Kalung alleging that his minor domestic help was missing since 1 March this year. 

After the girl was recovered the next day, she was reluctant to go to the informant's house. Later, her custody was given to the Child Welfare Committee wherein the statements given by her revealed that she was allegedly raped and sexually abused by the informant.

The father of the victim had moved an application before the trial court seeking her custody, however, the Court had directed the CCI to hand over her custody to a local guardian who was sister in law of the accused person. The revision petition of the said order was later dismissed.

"The fact of the matter is that the girl child who is a victim, is presently in the custody of the CCI, Roing. What this Court has to see in its capacity now as a Parens Patriae is only the best interest of the child and since the local guardian to whom the custody is being handed over is a close related of none else but the accused, in our opinion, it would not serve the interest of justice and definitely it would not be in the best interest of the victim child." The Court observed.

In view of this, the Court stayed the orders passed and applications moved regarding the custody of the child in the matter and directed that the child will stay under the management and custody of those who are in-charge of CCI.

"Whether these facilities are up to the mark, we direct the Deputy Commissioner, Lower Dibang Valley district to conduct an enquiry. The Deputy Commissioner should personally visit the CCI and furnish us the details with regard to the facilities available in the CCI, including the fact that such an institute is registered or not." The Court directed.

The Court went ahead to direct the Superintendent of Police to grant protection to the child in the CCI and also to ensure that she shall not be allowed to be visited either by the accused or his relative or even by her father till the next date of listing.

"The mother of the child shall be allowed to visit the child and in fact, she may be allowed to stay with the child, if she so desires." The Court clarified.

Furthermore, it directed thus:

"Although the clinical examination so far has revealed that the child is between 12-15 years of age but purely in order to have a scientific determination of the same, we direct the Director of Health Services, Arunachal Pradesh to depute a team of medical officers, including a lady doctor who shall conduct medical examination on the victim, only for the determination of her age."

The matter will now be considered on 16 July.

Title: PIL (Suo Moto)/5/2021

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