The Tripura High Court last week disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that it had taken suo moto cognizance of pertaining to the untimely death of a young married lady who had allegedly committed suicide after being subjected to grave public humiliation.
On May 6, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra had taken suo moto cognizance of a news item published in print and electronic media claiming that a video recording of a young married lady in an extremely intimate and compromising position with a man was shown in public and unable to bear the insults and humiliation that followed, she had committed suicide.
While the PIL proceedings were pending, the husband of the deceased lady had also committed suicide. Consequently, pursuant to Court orders, the two cases were clubbed together in order to conduct a common investigation.
-Since the preliminary investigation conducted by the concerned Investigating Officer (IO) did not meet the desired standards, the Court had constituted an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to carry out further investigation into the matter.
On July 14 the constituted SIT had submitted an interim report in a sealed cover for the Court's perusal. The report had detailed all measures undertaken in the ongoing investigation by the Investigating Officers under the supervision of senior members of the SIT. Further, it was also suggested in the report that the SIT would be in a position to submit the final report to the Court shortly.
In light of the progress made, the Court observed,
"We are fully satisfied with the investigation carried out by the SIT and in that view of the matter, our role in this PIL must be over. We would, therefore, like to withdraw from this issue and allow the normal criminal justice delivery system to take over. We are, however, anxious that the issue must reach finality as soon as possible."
Accordingly, the court disposed of the petition with the following directions,
(i) As assured by the SIT in its report dated 14.07.2021, let the final report upon completion of investigation be submitted before the concerned Court.
(ii) Upon such report being submitted, the concerned Courts shall thereafter proceed in accordance with the law.
(iii) If charge sheets are filed against any of the accused, we expect that the entire trial would be completed within a period of six months from the date the corona-related restrictions on the functioning of the Courts are lifted.
The Court also clarified that none of its observations should prejudice the accused persons in any manner and that the trial court must decide upon the merits of the case de novo without being influenced by the Court's observations.
"If during the course of trial the SIT perceives any threat to any of the witnesses, necessary steps or witness protection shall be taken", the order directed.