Satyama Dubey & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.
CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO. 296 OF 2020 decided on 27.10.2020
Bench: S.A. Bobde, CJI, A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ.
A 19-year-old girl, resident of village Hathras in Uttar Pradesh was brutally gangraped. Though she was shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, she breathed her last and she was cremated in the middle of the night without the presence of her family members by the UP Police. Considering the manner in which the entire incident took place, the petitioners contended that a fair investigation would be possible only if the matter is entrusted to an independent agency.
In the writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution the petitioners are praying that the Union of India and concerned authorities be ordered to conduct a fair investigation; if need be arisen by transferring the case to the CBI or SIT be formed to investigate the matter. It is also prayed that a sitting or retired Supreme Court or High Court Judge be appointed to look into the matter. The petitioners have further prayed that the case be transferred from Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to Delhi.
Whether the case to be transferred to the independent agency i.e. CBI or SIT?
The court said that the undisputed fact is that the investigation has in fact been entrusted by the State Government itself to the CBI on 10.10.2020 and the CBI has started investigation in respect of the crime on 11.10.2020. Therefore, the apprehensions expressed by the petitioners/applicants that there would be no proper investigation if the Uttar Pradesh Police conducted the same would not remain open for consideration at this stage and the grievance to that extent stands redressed. Futhermore, the Court said that it is noticed that the Allahabad High Court has adequately delved into the aspects relating to the case to secure fair investigation and has also secured the presence of the father, mother, brother and sister-in-law of the victim and appropriate orders are being passed. In that circumstance the court do not find it necessary to divest the High Court of the proceedings and take upon this court to monitor the proceedings/investigation. That apart from this, the Court observed that the incident having occurred within the jurisdiction of that High Court and all particulars being available, it would be appropriate for the High Court to proceed to monitor the investigation in the manner in which it would desire. In that view, the Supreme Court said that it would be open for the writ petitioners/applicants herein to seek to intervene in the matter before the High Court subject to consideration of such request by the High Court and if it finds the need to take into consideration the contentions to be urged by the petitioners/applicants in that regard.
· Whether the security to the victim’s family and witnesses be provided by the CRPF?
The Supreme Court said that steps have been taken by the State Government to make adequate arrangements for security to the victim’s family and witnesses. However, in the matter of the present nature it is necessary to address the normal perception and pessimism which cannot be said as being without justification. In that view, without casting any aspersions on the security personnel of the State Police; in order to ally all apprehensions and only as a confidence building measure, the Court found it appropriate to direct that the security to the victim’s family and the witnesses shall be provided by the CRPF within a week from today.
· Whether the case be transferred from Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to Delhi?
Insofar as the transfer of the case to Delhi is concerned, The Supreme Court was of the view that it would be appropriate for investigating agency to complete the investigation and in any event since the local police have been divested of the investigation and the CBI is carrying out the investigation there would be no room for apprehensions at this stage. However, the issue as to whether the trial of the case is to be transferred is a matter which is kept open to be considered if need be arises in future.