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Unnao Rape Survivor Moves Supreme Court Seeking Transfer Of Case Against Her To Delhi

Padmakshi Sharma
13 Aug 2022 4:11 AM GMT
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The Unnao rape survivor has moved a Transfer Petition in the Supreme Court of India seeking transfer of a counter case filed against her by the father of Shubham Singh, one of the accused men, facing trial in New Delhi for the gang rape of the minor petitioner. As an interim relief, the petitioner has sought a stay on a non-bailable warrant issued by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Unnao against her. The FIR was filed under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC as a counter blast against the minor petitioner, her uncle and her mother.

The petition has highlighted the "clear, grave and real risk" to the personal safety and life of the petitioner if she is forced to appear before and face a criminal trial in Unnao district, where she was repeatedly raped and gang raped in 2017 by politically powerful men.

Former MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was convicted for raping the petitioner, was also convicted for murdering petitioner's father in connivance with police officers of Makhi (a village in Unnao district). In fact, in 2019, when the petitioner was travelling from Delhi to Unnao, she met with a gruesome road accident in which two of her aunts passed away and she, along with her lawyer was severely injured. The Supreme Court, in 2019, had recognized the grave threat to her and her family's life and had directed that all cases related to the rape of the petitioner and the murder of her father be transferred to Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi from Lucknow. The petitioner and her family were also provided protection by a C.R.P.F battalion.

The petition, settled by Adv. Vrinda Grover and drafted by Advocates Soutik Banerjee, Devika Tulsiani and Rishikesh Kumar has stated that the proceedings initiated against the petitioner have been done with ulterior motives to prop up a defense against POCSO charges made out against the accused and intimidate and harass the victim. The petition further states that the FIR complainant was fully aware that the petitioner was deposing against his son on 02.08.2022 and 03.08.2022, in the criminal trial being held in New Delhi. Thus, the FIR complainant specifically chose to seek issuance of the non-bailable warrant against her on 02.08.2022. It was also highlighted that the cross examination of the petitioner was deferred in the trial on the request of the counsel of accused and was still pending.

The petition submits that–

"If the petitioner is forced to face trial in Unnao, it is very likely that the same would be an abuse of legal process to serve oblique motives and thwart the administration of justice in the ongoing criminal trial in New Delhi against Shubham Sharma and others."

Accordingly, the petition seeks to transfer the criminal case arising from the FIR filed against the petitioner, titled State v. Mahesh Singh and others, pending before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Unnao to a court of competent jurisdiction in Delhi.

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