SC Questions Bonafides Of Woman Who Alleged Rape By Arunachal CM; Refuses To Entertain Plea For Probe

SC Questions Bonafides Of Woman Who Alleged Rape By Arunachal CM; Refuses To Entertain Plea For Probe

The court, however, permitted her to approach the competent High Court with her grievances, granting her liberty to seek police protection.

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the plea for inquiry and police protection of a woman who alleged that she was subjected to gang-rape by four persons, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu back in 2008.

In view of the alleged incident having transpired more than 10 years ago and an official complaint having been filed not until 2015, the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi questioned the bonafides of the petitioner.

The court, however, permitted her to approach the competent High Court with her grievances, granting her liberty to seek police protection.

Besides protection, the petitioner had also sought permission to approach the Delhi High Court to pursue appropriate legal recourse against police inaction on her allegations. She goes as far as submitting that she would voluntarily undergo Narco Analysis/ Polygraph Test for establishing the veracity of her allegations.

According to her averments, the petitioner was 15 years old at the time of the incident and was working in a Public Call Office in Arunachal Pradesh. She was allegedly lured into a meeting by a man named Phurma Lama on the pretext of getting her a government job. During this meeting, she claims to have met three others—Pema Khandu who introduced himself as an Army colonel, Thupten Tashi who is a teacher at a Government school and Dorjee Wangchu, an Assistant Mineral Development Officer at Ziro.

She submits that she was given drinks laced with intoxicating substances during this meeting, after which the four men allegedly raped her. After she regained consciousness, she claims to have been slapped and warned of dire consequences by Khandu. Owing to the threat, she submits that she was unable to immediately register a formal complaint.

The petitioner contends that initially she did not know the real identities of the accused and identified Khandu only in 2012 when he was the Tourism Minister for Arunachal Pradesh, after seeing his photographs in the newspaper.

She lodged a formal complaint in 2015 but the Itanagar Police officers were reluctant to register the same. Another plea before the Chief Judicial Magistrate demanding a direction to the police authorities to register an FIR was also dismissed. The National Commission for Women failed to act on her complaint too. She has, therefore, now approached the Supreme Court, submitting, "The petitioner is threatened with criminal cases against her also and there is already a defamation case against the petitioner in which a restraining order has been passed. The petitioner has sent complaints to all authorities including Prime Minister of India but of no avail. Now she can only approach this Hon'ble Court in this regard due to the restraint order and issues of safety to pursue remedies in the North East."