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'Hathrass Not Only In State Of UP But Also In Jharkhand': HC Orders Appointment Of SIT As Police Displays Lax In Investigating 15-Yr-Old Burnt Victim Case [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
8 Oct 2020 2:07 PM GMT
Hathrass Not Only In State Of UP But Also In Jharkhand: HC Orders Appointment Of SIT As Police Displays Lax In Investigating 15-Yr-Old Burnt Victim Case [Read Order]
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"Hathrass is not only in the State of Uttar Pradesh, but also is in the State of Jharkhand," the High Court remarked today while hearing a "shocking incident" where a 15-year old girl was brutally murdered by burning. The Bench of Justice Ananda Sen was surprised by the manner in which the investigation in such a heinous case had been carried out by the Jharkhand Police. The facts...

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"Hathrass is not only in the State of Uttar Pradesh, but also is in the State of Jharkhand," the High Court remarked today while hearing a "shocking incident" where a 15-year old girl was brutally murdered by burning.

The Bench of Justice Ananda Sen was surprised by the manner in which the investigation in such a heinous case had been carried out by the Jharkhand Police.

The facts and circumstances of the case at hand constrained the Judge to compare it with the heinous Hathras Rape Case where also the victim was brutally assaulted and thereafter, as reported by the media, her family was victimized by the 'high-handedness' of the state authorities.

Allahabad HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Hathras Case; Says 'Incidents Have Shocked Our Conscience'

In the case at hand, Justice Sen observed that the FIR was lodged right on the day following the date of alleged incident. However, he expressed his surprise as to the "very casual manner" in which the IO had proceeded in the case.

Taking exception to this the Court sternly remarked,

"The way the investigation proceeded is absolutely unsatisfactory. No seriousness is shown by the Investigating Officer nor even by the supervising authority in this case. The urgency is absolutely lacking. This court cannot keep its eyes shut and ignore this type of lackluster and shoddy investigation. Seriousness and urgency ought to have been shown by the investigating authorities. They have miserably failed as there is no substantial progress in the investigation even after lapse of six months."

Significantly, the investigating authority had tried to pitch in a suspicion of honor killing in the matter. However, without making any remarks on the merits of such a theory, the Court passed directions for expedited investigation.

It said,

"This court is not going into all these aspects. The fact remains that a young girl of 15 years was brutally burnt to death, be it by the accused named in the FIR or anyone else. Even if the theory of the State is accepted that this can be a case of honour killing then also the same is more heinous. This heinous incident needs immediate and proper investigation to bring to light the correct fact and to book the real accused persons."

The Court has directed the Director General of Police, Jharkhand, to immediately constitute a SIT to investigate this case. The Bench ordered,

"Since from the case diary I find that the investigation has not been done in a proper manner and no urgency or seriousness is shown by the present investigator, I think this is a fit case where a SPECIAL INVESTIGATING TEAM (SIT) be constituted."

It is clarified that the DGP shall appoint responsible and senior persons and shall monitor the investigation from time to time and ensure completion of investigation at the earliest without any delay.

It added,

"it will be open to the SIT to immediately arrest the accused persons and it will be the duty of the SIT to see that none of the witnesses are tampered by anyone."

Background

Allegedly, one Pintu Paswan, by sprinkling kerosene oil on the body of the 15 years old girl, burnt her and thereafter, by removing the tiles of the roof of his house tried to flee but the family members of the victim caught hold of him.

The FIR in the matter was registered by the victim's father on the next date.

A perusal of the case diary of the case revealed:

"The first information report was registered on 31/3/2020. The police visited the place of occurrence and prepared the inquest report on that date…The next date of investigation, which finds place in the case diary, is 4th April 2020, i.e. after four days when the I.O. only records the statement of two seizure list witnesses. The next date in the case diary is 22nd April 2020, i.e. after more than 16 days. Nothing was done by the I.O. in between."

The Court further observed,

"The next date of activity of the Investigating Officer is 5th May 2020, which is more than 14 days. On that day he obtains permission from the court to send the swab to the FSL. On next day, i.e. 6th May 2020, the I.O. obtains a letter from the hospital to send the swab to the laboratory. Surprisingly rather shockingly the swab was sent to the laboratory only on 20th May 2020 i.e. after 14 days. In the entire case diary there is no explanation about the delay caused. This is how an investigation is going on of a most heinous crime."

The Court further observed that there were independent witnesses who supported the case of the prosecution however "surprisingly enough" there was nothing to suggest that the police had ever made an attempt to arrest the named accused persons.

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