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[Hathras] Allahabad HC Calls For Status Report From CBI, Asks State About Possibility Of Transferring DM Elsewhere [Read Order]

Mehal Jain
5 Nov 2020 2:58 PM GMT
[Hathras] Allahabad HC Calls For Status Report From CBI, Asks State About Possibility Of Transferring DM Elsewhere [Read Order]
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The Allahabad High Court on Monday called for a status report from the CBI on the status of its investigation into the Hathras gang-rape, also inquiring as to how much time would be required to complete the probe."The C.B.I. is directed to file a status report with regard to the ongoing investigation, before the next date. It shall also indicate as to approximately how much time is likely to...

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The Allahabad High Court on Monday called for a status report from the CBI on the status of its investigation into the Hathras gang-rape, also inquiring as to how much time would be required to complete the probe.

"The C.B.I. is directed to file a status report with regard to the ongoing investigation, before the next date. It shall also indicate as to approximately how much time is likely to be taken to complete the investigation", directed the bench. 
The bench took note of the applications by two of the accused, one, for impleadment, and two, for appropriate directions restraining media houses and journalists from publishing any news/article or report in any manner whatsoever in respect of matters which would be subject matter of trial and any statement prejudicing the applicant's right to fair trial.
Intervention Application By Accused
"As regards the accused, they do not have much of a right/locus at this stage of investigation (by the CBI) so far as its monitoring is concerned and also as regards the alleged illegal cremation. They are not necessary parties to the proceedings, however, if at any stage of the proceedings any issue arises touching upon the rights of accused or an issue arises as to the scope of monitoring of investigation, then, they may be heard", observed the bench, disposing of this application with the observation that applicants shall have a right of hearing as and when, if at all, any of their rights are adversely affected or likely to be adversely affected in these proceedings in any manner.

Guidelines To Media

As regards the other application seeking restraint order against media houses and journalists, the bench iterated that in their order dated 12.10.2020, the Court has already requested the media as also political parties to exercise restraint while expressing their views on the subject matter involved in these proceedings in a manner which does not disturb social harmony and/or infringe upon rights of victim's family and that of accused. "No one should indulge in character assassination of victim just as accused should not be pronounced guilty before a fair trial.The Investigating Agency and the courts should be allowed to determine these issues", repeated the bench.
In continuation, it said that it expects the Media to be guided by the pronouncements of the Supreme Court in this regard on the subject. In the HC's opinion, these observations are, for the moment, sufficient, and no further directions are required unless of course any specific instance prejudicial to the rights of the victim's family or accused or the pending investigation as also these proceedings, is brought to its notice in which case it may take cognizance of the same at the appropriate stage.
Submissions By Victim Family's Lawyer Seema Kushwaha
The counsel appearing for the victim's family Seema Kushwaha submitted that the family wanted to be shifted outside Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, for the sake of its security as it was apprehensive in this regard once the proceedings before the Courts etc. were over.
Secondly, she apprised the Court about an alleged promise made by the State Government for providing employment to one member of the victim's family which had not been fulfilled as yet.
Thirdly, she stated that although part of compensation had been received by the family some pressure was being exerted for returning it in view of some alleged statement made by some family members that the family did not want it. In this regard she referred to some letter of the District Magistrate but could not place it before the bench.
Senior Counsel S. V. Raju appearing for the State refuted this contention and stated that there was no such move at all.
The bench heard the version of the erstwhile SP, Hathras, who was present in court pursuant to the earlier order. version. He has also filed an affidavit which was taken on record. "He made a statement that it is he and the District Magistrate who had taken the decision to cremate the victim's body in the night", noted the bench, recording Senior Counsel for the state, S.V. Raju's narration of the outline of the events which took place on 29.09.2020 and on the night of cremation.
He apprised the bench of the fact that the State Government had informed the Central Government about the order of the Supreme Court of India dated 27.10.2020 regarding provision of security for family members of the victim by the Central Reserve Police Force and that the CRPF had taken over security of the victim's family and witness. He also apprised the court of the steps taken for providing compensation to the victim's family and in this context he invited the bench's attention to relevant affidavits filed on behalf of the State. The bench was also informed that process of preparing a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) as ordered by this Court on 12.10.2020 was on and a draft SOP had been prepared which had been shared with the amicus curiae and as and when the same is finalized it would be placed before the Court for its consideration.
On Transfer of District Magistrate
During course of arguments the Bench has asked Senior Advocate Shri S. V. Raju whether it was fair and reasonable to allow the District Magistrate to continue at Hathras during pendency of the investigation as also these proceedings before us regarding illegal cremation etc. when he was in the thick of things, and would it not be appropriate to shift him elsewhere during pendency of these proceedings without there being any stigma attached to such an action only to ensure fairness and transparency in the matter.
Shri Raju told the Court that he will convey it to the State Government and come back to us on this issue by the next date.
Security by CRPF 
"Considering the fact that under the orders of the Supreme Court of India it is the Central Reserve Police Force which is required to provide security to the family members of victim and witnesses in the criminal case, the Office/ Registry of the High Court is directed to implead the Director General, Central Reserve"
Police Force, New Delhi as an opposite party in these suo motu proceedings and serve notice of these proceedings upon the Assistant Solicitor General of India at Lucknow on his behalf.
"Let a responsible Officer of the Central Reserve Police Force file an affidavit indicating the nature of security provided and measures taken in this regard for the victim's family before the next date", required the bench.
On Deletion of Personal Details of Victim's Family Members
"In furtherance of orders of the Supreme Court dated 27.10.2020 the concerned Officials of the High Court were directed to delete the names of family members mentioned in the HC order dated 12.10.2020 under the heading 'present' and the words 'family members of victim' shall be substituted in place of the recitals to be deleted. Further, name of deceased victim's father, mother, brother and sister-n-law shall also be deleted. "All actions necessary for carrying out these directions in compliance of orders of the Supreme Court dated 27.10.2020 shall be taken by concerned official/ registry etc. If, for carrying out the aforesaid corrections, copy of order dated 12.10.2020 as uploaded on official website of the High Court and/or 'elegalix' is required to be deleted/removed, the same shall be done and the corrected order as aforesaid shall be reloaded/ uploaded on the website. This shall be done forthwith", it was directed.

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[Read Order]



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