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Focus On Circumstances Of Girl's Suicide, Don't Harass Person Who Filmed Allegations About Religious Conversion: Madras High Court Tells Police

Sebin James
24 Jan 2022 10:42 AM GMT
Focus On Circumstances Of Girls Suicide, Dont Harass Person Who Filmed Allegations About Religious Conversion: Madras High Court Tells Police
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In a petition filed for transfer of investigation pertaining to the demise of a 17-year-old girl to CB-CID or other independent investigating agencies, Madurai bench of Madras High Court has asked the police authorities to focus on the circumstances that led to her suicide. The court said so in light of allegations that the police was harassing the person who allegedly videographed the...

In a petition filed for transfer of investigation pertaining to the demise of a 17-year-old girl to CB-CID or other independent investigating agencies, Madurai bench of Madras High Court has asked the police authorities to focus on the circumstances that led to her suicide.

The court said so in light of allegations that the police was harassing the person who allegedly videographed the girl while she was making allegations about pressure exerted on her for religious conversion.

"...The respondent police are restrained from harassing the person who had taken the video of the child, in which, she is found making an allegation that she was called upon to convert to Christianity. The focus of the police authorities should be on the circumstances that led to the suicide of the child and it cannot be directed against the person who had taken the video. In any event, further orders will be passed by this Court on 24.01.2022", the court noted in the order.

Since there has been no doubt as to the credibility of postmortem conducted by doctors from Thanjavur Medical College, the bench asked the District Collector to make necessary arrangements to transfer the body to the deceased child's native place.

In a special sitting on Saturday, the court had also directed the police not to interfere while the family performs the final rites of the child as per their customs.

Justice G.R Swaminathan has also asked the Thanjavur Principal District Judge to nominate a judicial magistrate who would record the statement of the deceased child's parents under Section 164 C.r.P.C. which must be produced in a sealed cover before the High Court.

The deceased, a 12th Standard student in Thooya Irudhaya Higher Secondary School at Thirukattupalli, was staying at the School Hostel itself. Allegedly, she consumed poison (pesticide) inside the hostel premises on 9th January. The police took her statement on 16th January, based on which, the hostel warden was booked for offences under Sections 305, 511 of IPC and Sections 75 and 82(1) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The petitioner also submitted that the school management tortured her for not converting to Christianity.

Importantly, an unknown person had videographed her alleging such pressurisation for converting to Christianity before her demise on 19th January. The said video was widely circulated in social media.

Taking note of the same, the police allegedly targeted the person who took the video for revealing the identity of the minor. In the aftermath of the above incidents, there were allegations that the investigation was not going in the right direction and the current petition for transfer of investigation was filed.

On last Friday, the court instructed the police not to give rise to allegations such as harassing the petitioner, his wife or the person who allegedly took the video containing allegations about pressure exerted upon the deceased to convert to Christianity. On the same day, the court directed that a fully video graphed forensic autopsy must be conducted on the deceased child.

The special sitting on Saturday was held since the court was informed by Additional Public Prosecutor that post mortem has already been conducted. Therefore, the police required clarity as to whether a second post mortem was necessary.

Case Title: M v. The Director-General of Police & Ors.

Case No: CRL OP(MD) No.1344 of 2022

Click Here To Read/ Download Order

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