Lucknow, October 1: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the Hathras incident and the events leading up to the cremation of the victim in the Hathras alleged rape and murder case and issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government.

“The incidents which took place after the death of the victim on 29.09.2020 leading up to her cremation, as alleged, have shocked our conscience, therefore, we are taking suo moto cognisance of the same,” the Lucknow Bench said, as reported by The Hindu.

Justices Rajan Roy and Jaspreet Singh said the matter was of “immense public importance and public interest as it involves allegation of high handedness by the State authorities resulting in violation of the basic human and fundamental rights not only of the deceased victim but also of her family members”.

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, noted the court.

The court directed the Senior Registrar to register a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) with the title, “In Re : Right to decent and dignified last rites/cremation”.

Referring to details of the case through news reports, the court said it was inclined to examine whether there has been gross violation of the fundamental rights of the deceased victim and her the family members; whether the State authorities acted oppressively high-handedly and illegally to violate such rights as 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.

The court said it would also examine whether the economic and social status of the deceased’s family has been taken advantage of by the State authorities to oppress and deprive them of their Constitutional rights.

The court said it would leave open for its consideration on future dates if there was a need for getting the case probed through an independent agency or monitoring the investigation of the SIT (special investigation team) formed by the government.

The State of U.P. through Additional Chief Secretary (Home); the Director General of Police, U.P., Lucknow; Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, U.P., Lucknow; District Magistrate, Hathras; Superintendent of Police, Hathras shall be arrayed as Opposite parties in the said petition.

The court listed the case for October 12.

The court asked the U.P. officials to apprise it about the status of the investigation related to the crime and also directed the family of the victim to be present before it to ascertain the facts and their version of the incidents which took place at the time of cremation.

The court also directed the State authorities to ensure that no coercion, influence or pressure was exerted upon the family members of the deceased in any manner, by anyone.

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