3 Feb 2022 1:15 PM GMT
The Director-General of Police of Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court against the order of the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) which transferred the investigation in the case relating to the suicide of a girl in Thanjavur to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The High Court, in its January 31 order, had ordered by the CBI probe after taking a critical view of the stand taken by...
The Director-General of Police of Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court against the order of the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) which transferred the investigation in the case relating to the suicide of a girl in Thanjavur to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The High Court, in its January 31 order, had ordered by the CBI probe after taking a critical view of the stand taken by the local police that there was no basis for the allegation that the suicide was due to the forced attempts by the girl's Missionary School to convert her to Christianity.
Arguing that there were no circumstances warranting the transfer of investigation from the State Police, the DGP has sought a stay of the order passed by a single bench of Justice GR Swaminathan.
In the Special Leave Petition, the DGP has also sought the expunction of certain adverse remarks made by the High Court against the state police probe.
The State has challenged all the interim orders including orders dated 21st, 22nd, 24th January 2022 on ground that they interfered with the investigation.
Through its order dated 22nd January, the Madras High Court had asked the police authorities to focus on the circumstances that led to the girl's suicide and directed the District Collector to make necessary arrangements to transfer the body to the deceased child's native place. Pertinently, the court also gave a strict mandate to the police not to harass the person who filmed the video of the girl child.
On 24th January, the High Court had ordered the forensic analysis of the viral video in which the deceased had allegedly spoken about the forced attempts of the school authorities to convert her to Christianity.
The girl, a Class 12 student of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Michealpatti, had died on January 19 following an attempt to suicide. After her death, certain video clips of her recorded by a third party named Muthuvel emerged in social media, in which the girl had allegedly made statements about forcible conversion attempts.
The Madras High Court, through its judgement dated 31st January 2022 had harshly criticised the investigation by the Tamil Nadu police for ruling out the angle of alleged attempts of religious conversion to Christianity from her school.
The High Court had criticized the Superintendent of Police Tanjavur for making a press statement to rule out the conversion angle at an early stage.
The Court had also noted that the State Education Minister and two other High Ranking Ministers issued public statements exonerating the school management. The Education Department also released a report absolving the school. In this backdrop, the Court observed:
"It is too early in the day for the police or the politicians to jump to conclusions. But they have done so. That is why, the petitioner is apprehensive that if the investigation remains with State police, he will not get justice. His apprehension is justified" the court said
The High Court had further observed "What led the child to suicide has to be investigated. Before the investigation officer, the dying declaration of the child is available. Their authenticity is undoubted. Without doing so, District Superintendent of Police wanted to completely suppress the conversion angle. The foregoing circumstances cumulatively taken will definitely create an impression that the investigation is not proceeding on the right lines. Since a high ranking Hon'ble Minister himself has taken a stand, investigation cannot continue with the State Police".
The Court had observed that there was a "counter-narrative" being built that the girl was ill-treated at her home by her father and step-mother. Further, the I.T wing of the ruling party released portions of the private video that appear to exonerate the school authorities, which again raises considerable doubts about the credibility and impartiality of the investigation made by the State police, the Court said.
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.
Case Title: Director General of Police vs Muruganantham | Diary No.3688/2022