“The incidents which took place after the death of the victim on leading up to her cremation, as alleged, have shocked our conscience, therefore, we are taking suo moto cognizance of the same”, states the order.
LUCKNOW—Taking suo motu cognisance of the Hathras gangrape incident and forced cremation of the victim’s body at night hours in the absence of family members, Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued notices to the state government through Additional Chief Secretary (Home, Director General of Police, Additional DGP (Law and Order), District Magistrate as also Superintendent of Police, Hathras, and asked them to remain present in the court on October 12.
Passing the order, a two-judge bench of Justices Jaspreet Singh and Rajan Roy observed, “The incidents which took place after the death of the victim on September 29 leading up to her cremation, as alleged, have shocked our conscience, therefore, we are taking suo moto cognizance of the same.”
The court has also summoned the victim’s family members to hear their version and directed the state authorities to ensure that the family members of the victims were not coerced and influence in any matter.
Taking serious note of the forceful cremation of the victim’s body without consent of her family, the bench said that the court needed to examine whether the “state authorities have acted oppressively highhandedly and illegally to violate fundamental rights of the deceased and her family members” and “if it is found to be so, then, this would be a case where accountability will not only have to be fixed but for future guidance also stern action would be required”.
Stating that the matter is of “immense public importance and public interest as it involves allegation of highhandedness by the State authorities”, the court pointed out that “As it is, the deceased victim was treated with extreme brutality by the perpetrators of the crime and what is alleged to have happened thereafter, if true, amounts to perpetuating the misery of the family and rubbing salt in their wounds”.
The victim was subjected to gangrape on September 14 and as per media reports, her tongue was mutilated to prevent her from disclosing the identity of the rapists. After she succumbed to injuries on September 29, the police did not hand over the body to her family members and conducted her cremation forcefully around 2.30 am on September 30.
The High Court said that if the allegations of forced cremation are found to be true, then “it would be a case of gross violation of basic human and fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 and Article 25 of the Constitution of India in a most blatant and uncalled for manner something which is absolutely unacceptable in our country governed by Rule of Law and the Constitution.”