NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought an explanation from Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan for his insensitive remarks on the national highway gangrape in Bulandshahr and stayed the CBI investigation into the incident.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan pulled up Samajwadi Party leader Khan, who called the crime “a political conspiracy against the party”, and sought responses from him and the state government to the plea that sought shifting of the probe and trial from the state in three weeks.
“Why should people in power make such statements? Should the state, the protector of citizens and responsible for law and order, allow these comments as they can potentially create distrust in the minds of victims as regards the fair investigation and, in a way, the entire system,” Justice Misra questioned.
In the plea filed in the apex court, the victim’s father sought an order for transferring the trial of the case to Delhi “in the interest of justice”. Unhappy with police, the petitioner said the probe should be conducted by “some other competent agency”.
The court also stayed the Allahabad High Court’s decision ordering CBI probe and noted the apprehensions of the victims’ family that there was no possibility of a fair investigation in the state as a minister himself had made such a statement.
The court said when a victim had filed an FIR alleging rape, gangrape or murder, why should a person in charge of governance be allowed to comment, when as an individual, he had nothing to do with the offences in question.
Khan, however, maintained that he had not said anything against the victims and their family members.
The brutal incident occurred on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida-based family and sexually assaulted the petitioner’s wife and daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle at gun point. The bench appointed F S Nariman as amicus curiae, as it framed some questions with regard to the impact of the statements of those holding high offices on the probe in heinous cases. The bench also said it would examine whether such statements are covered under freedom of speech of an individual. The case is slated to be heard on September 27.