08, Oct 2020 | CJP Team
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has moved an Intervention Application (IA) in the Supreme Court in connection with the case involving the recent gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras.
CJP, a human rights organisation with a long history of defending Victims against the mighty State, in the courts and beyond, felt compelled to move SC “primarily since there are widespread news reports attributed to senior police officials and elected representatives who are trying to underplay the heinous and actually prejudging the issues. For example, there reports of a senior police officer saying that there was no sexual assault.”
CJP’s IA goes on to say, “It is rather alarming that an officer at that level is making these public statements when investigation is still in progress and the final outcome would be post the trial. It is rather alarming that when this Hon’ble Court has repeatedly stated that cases of sexual violence have to be handled with utmost sensitivity, these brazen statements are being made in the public domain.” CJP added that it was intervening “in these circumstances having had experience working with victims who were threatened and intimidated by the mighty state in the past” and that the application “is bona fide and made in the interests of justice.”
CJP has based its plea on several pertinent human rights aspects that appeared to have been ignored in this case so far. For example, should one not take into consideration the rights of the deceased? This matter becomes significant in light of allegations of forced cremation of the victim’s body by police in the middle of the night, denying her family the right to take her body back to the village. Given that the family hails from the historically oppressed Dalit community, and several ‘upper-caste’ groups are allegedly attempting to spin the narrative, the safety of the family is also of paramount importance. Thus, witness protection is another aspect of the case that CJP wants to highlight. Other elements that CJP’s application brings to light are:
- Admissibility of the Narco Analysis test
- Importance of Dying Declaration
- Relevance of Forensics Reports and other medical evidence in rape cases
- Preserving evidence
- NCRB data on crimes against women and crimes against Dalits
- Transfer of Investigation
In its plea, CJP asks for three key things:
- A Supreme Court monitored investigation
- Protection be provided to witnesses by Central Paramilitary Forces
- A judicial inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge on the circumstances that led to the cremation of the victim’s body in the middle of the night in an open field, allegedly without the family’s consent.
CJP’s Application for intervention No. 102148 of 2020 and direction no. 102153 of 2020 was filed through Adv Ms Aparna Bhat. The entire IA may be read here: