27 Jun 2018 5:06 PM GMT
Coming to the rescue of a 24-year-old law graduate who had been illegally confined by her District Judge father, the Patna High Court on Tuesday ordered her alma mater, Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) Patna to make arrangements for her stay at their guest house for a period of 15 days.The Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad directed the...
Coming to the rescue of a 24-year-old law graduate who had been illegally confined by her District Judge father, the Patna High Court on Tuesday ordered her alma mater, Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) Patna to make arrangements for her stay at their guest house for a period of 15 days.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad directed the Sr. Superintendent of Police, Patna to ensure that a 24-hours guard, preferably a lady police officer is present at the premises for the safety of the woman. It further issued several directions to ensure her free movement and interaction during this period, ordering,
“The corpus is free to interact with whomsoever she wishes. She has been provided a Mobile Phone by her parents, at the request of the Court and she is free to talk to anybody or convey her refusal to meet or talk to anybody through the Lady Constable/Officer during her stay at the guest house. However, we grant liberty to the parents to visit the corpus in the campus and talk to her subject to her consent whenever they wish.”
The woman has been requested to remain in Patna till the next date of hearing. The Court made it clear that she is free to move around the city during this time, and has directed the CNLU Registrar to make arrangements for her transport. It also cautioned the media against publishing any news item that would adversely affect the woman or her parent’s reputation. It, however, clarified that the media shall be free to report on the court proceedings, without printing the name of the woman or her parents.
Taking cognizance of news reports
The Court had taken suo motu cognizance of news reports recalling the horrors of the duo’s story. The Bench had, on Monday, observed, “We have taken cognizance of the matter taking note of the seriousness of the issue as was reflected in the article concerned which formed the basis for taking cognizance of the matter.”
It had, therefore, directed the police to produce the woman in the Chief Justice’s chambers at 2:15 on Tuesday. To this end, it had directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, to constitute a team of officers, including at least two lady officers, to escort her to the Court. It had further appointed Advocate Anukriti Jaipuriyar as the amicus curiae in the case.
The Court had however clarified, “Keeping in view the nature of the material available in the report which was placed before us, we are constrained to direct the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna to take action in the matter and we are not at present inclined to take the assistance of the police officers of the District who are dealing with the matter.”
A ray of hope after continued disappointment from the authorities
As per a NewsCentral report, allegations have been levelled against a District and Sessions Judge from Khagaria district, of having put his daughter on house arrest after disapproving of her relationship with a Supreme Court lawyer. On learning of the affair, the woman, who is a law graduate from Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) in Patna was allegedly thrashed and restricted to her residence in Khagaria by her family.
Their affair was discovered on 5 May, a day before the woman was scheduled to take her Delhi Judicial Services Exam but was not allowed to after her mother saw the duo interacting with each other. Thereafter, her parents verbally abused the SC lawyer, and allegedly called him up twice while they were beating up their daughter so that he could hear her scream and cry.
He also met her parents on 25 May, but was told by the Judge that while the latter does not have a problem with their inter-caste marriage, he would be allowed to meet the girl or marry her only if he becomes a judge or a civil servant. Assurances by him that he can support their daughter while continuing as an Advocate are understood to have fallen on deaf ears. He was also asked to write down the names of his family members as well as their professions for verification.
According to reports, the duo has since approached several authorities as well, but to no avail. The SC lawyer approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) on the woman’s behalf, but without any reprieve. He filed a habeas corpus petition before the Supreme Court as well, but the same was rejected with the Apex Court ruling that it “cannot give him the girl’s custody”.
The woman had also emailed Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma, Bihar DGP KS Dwivedi and Bihar State Women’s Commission member Savita Natrajan, but she didn’t receive any response on these. Besides, a protection officer named Ruby Kumari is reported to have refused to take down the statement dictated to her on June 20. The same officer had allegedly attempted to convince her into withdrawing her complaint on an earlier occasion.
Being a Judge, the woman’s father is therefore alleged to have exercised his influence over the authorities that could’ve helped the woman. However, having taken suo motu cognizance of the matter, the High Court has now provided a new ray of hope to the couple.