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Unnao rape: SC transfers cases to Delhi, victim given Rs 25 lakh ex gratia

Last updated on: August 01, 2019 22:29 IST

The apex court asked the CBI to complete its probe in the accident case within 7 days.
The SC directed that the survivor, her mother and other members of the family be provided security by the CRPF.
It also ordered an inquiry to find out 'any lapses or negligence' on part of the registry in placing before the Chief Justice the letter by the victim.

The Supreme Court transferred all cases connected to the 2017 rape of a minor girl in Unnao to a Delhi court on Thursday, a day of mourning and reckoning that saw a funeral and BJP expelling its jailed legislator accused of the sexual assault and killing of the rape survivor's two aunts.

The SC designated the court of Tis Hazari (West) District Judge Dharmesh Sharma as the competent court to hold trial in the cases.

"Taking into account the grounds set out in transfer petitions... and the facts stated in the letter dated July 12, 2019 addressed to the Chief Justice of India on the administrative side, we order for transfer of the following cases from the CBI Court, Lucknow to the competent court in Delhi that is the court of Dharmesh Sharma, District Judge, West, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi," the bench said in its order.

 

As the young woman at the centre of it all struggled for life in a Lucknow hospital -- where she was declared stable but remains on ventilator support following her injuries in a truck-car collision on Sunday -- the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide her Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation.

The woman's lawyer, also admitted to the King Georges Medical University after the accident, is stable, too, but on a ventilator, doctors said.

The Uttar Pradesh police swung into damage control mode, suspending three constables entrusted with the task of guarding the survivor.

Faced with the rising tide of anger against Kuldeep Sengar, who is already in jail on charges of raping the Unnao woman, the BJP expelled the four-time MLA.

An announcement of his expulsion by the central BJP leadership was made by UP party chief Swatantra Dev Singh in Lucknow.

The apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, issued a slew of directions in the case that has grabbed national attention and also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to complete within seven days its investigation into the fifth case relating to the accident.

The CBI, which has taken over the investigation into the accident, booked 10 people for murder, including Sengar.

The apex court bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, made it clear the agency can only seek an extension of seven days for the probe and that too in exceptional circumstances.

The court, which will hear the case on Friday, also said the trial in the main case relating to the rape of the survivor will have to be completed within 45 days from its commencement.

The apex court said it is passing an ex parte order without the representation of the accused persons to ensure expeditious investigation and trial in the cases keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

The apex court directed that the survivor, her mother and other members of the family be provided security by the Central Reserve Police Force and an officer of the level of commandant will file a compliance report.

The SC also ordered an inquiry by its Secretary General, under the supervision of a sitting top court judge, to find out within a week ‘any lapses or negligence’ on part of the registry in placing before the Chief Justice the letter by the rape victim expressing danger to her life by Sengar.

The apex court took note that letter dated July 12 had landed in the registry on July 17 but it was placed before the Chief Justice on the evening of July 30 after the media had already flashed reports about it.

The top court had on Wednesday taken cognisance of the letter written by the victim and other members of her family in which they had narrated the incident of July 7-8, when people allegedly associated with Sengar had threatened them with dire consequences.

They had sought registration of FIR and police protection.

The bench said: "Insofar as the action of the Registry in not taking prompt action on the letter of the family of the victim is concerned, we direct an inquiry to be held by the Secretary General of this Court to find out whether there were any lapses or negligence on the part of any member of the Registry in processing the letter petition in question and placing the same before the Chief Justice on the administrative side."

It further said that the inquiry to be conducted by the Secretary General will be completed within seven days and will be supervised by a sitting Judge of the top Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice.

As the case took its judicial -- and political -- course, for the family it was coping with the trauma of battling the powerful and losing a loved one.

The body of the survivor's aunt was consigned to flames in her village, about 70 kilometres from the state capital Lucknow, amid tears of rage and sorrow.

The last rites were performed by her son in the presence of her two daughters.

Family members broke down at the sight of her body, several holding Sengar responsible for the death.
“It is nothing but well planned murder,” the woman's daughter told the media.

She said her mother had been staying with the rape survivor for nine months and had pursued the case in the court.

The other aunt who died on Sunday was cremated on the banks of the Ganges on Wednesday.

Loss is something the family of the young woman who went public with her allegation may be learning to live with.

Her father had died in police custody last year, following which she attempted to end her life outside the chief minister's residence.

The escalating public anger since Sunday has seen major political parties coming down hard on the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh and asking for accountability.

‘The BJP finally acknowledges having empowered a criminal and takes some action to correct itself and move in the direction of justice for a young woman who has suffered immeasurably,’ Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Twitter after the ruling party at the centre and the state expelled Sengar, its legislator from Bangermau in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress workers in the state also performed a 'havan' for the well-being of the rape survivor and for those killed in Sunday's collision.

The Samajwadi Party demanded the resignation of Adityanath in the aftermath of the incident.

Ajendra Awasthi, another advocate for the woman, said he was provided with adequate security by the district administration after he requested for it.

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