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Hathras plea case: SC tells UP govt. to apprise of witness protection

By Astha Joshi-

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian heard the plea today seeking transfer of probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Hathras gang-rape case.

The petitioners, Satyama Dubey, social activist, and Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav Singh, lawyers, prayed that the case is to be heard in Delhi, outside Uttar Pradesh, with speedy trials.

In the affidavit filed in response to the PIL, the state government said that it is of utmost importance to let the investigation be conducted by an independent agency.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the state, said, “There are narratives and narratives, but the sad truth is that a young girl has lost her life.”

He further said that there should be a “free and fair trial. There should be an investigation and that should be monitored by this Court.”

When Senior Counsel Indira Jaising made submissions before the Court to urge for witness protection and to invoke the Court’s jurisdiction over the issue of transfer,

the CJI replied,

“The incident is very extraordinary and shocking that is why we are hearing you but otherwise we are not sure if you have locus in this criminal case.”

She added that “no lawyer should solicit in this case.”

The CJI appreciated Jaising’s assistance and asked the petitioner to speak.

The counsel for the petitioner, Pradeep Kumar Yadav, stated, “I am also a woman and the incident has shocked us all.”

Advocate Kirti Singh informed the Court that a letter has been written on behalf of many women to seek protection for the victim’s family. The CJI then requested to not “duplicate” the concerns.

As another matter was already being heard by the Allahabad High Court, CJI asked her to approach the High Court.

The apex court further asked SG Mehta for recommendations to widen the scope of the proceedings before the High Court.

The Court has also asked the UP government to file an affidavit on the status of protection given to the victim’s family and inform the same by October 8.

The Court has adjourned the hearing for next week.