Hathras gangrape victim's late-night cremation violation of human rights: Allahabad High Court
In its order after Monday's hearing, the Lucknow bench of the high court warned against 'character assassination' of the victim and urged restraint by officials, political parties and the media.
LUCKNOW: Coming down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government over the hurried cremation of an alleged gang-rape and murder victim in Hathras in the dead of night, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court called it an infringement of human rights of the victim and her family. In its 11-page order a day after hearing the victim’s family and senior officials - after taking suo motu cognisance of the matter - a division bench comprising Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy directed the state authorities to draw up a draft policy to deal with such situations is future.
“The facts and circumstances, as of now, ex facie, reveal that the decision to cremate the victim in the night without handing over the body to the family members or their consent though in the name of law and order situation, is prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family, “ it said. “We do not at this stage find any good reason... as to why they could not hand over the body to the family members for some time, say for even half an hour, to enable them to perform their rituals at home and thereafter to cremate it either in the night or next day.” The court said that the victim was, at least, entitled to a decent cremation.
“Cremation is one of the ‘Sanskars’ i.e., antim sanskar recognized as an important ritual which could not have been compromised taking shelter of law & order situation,” the court said. The question, the court said, was whether the hasty cremation — in the wee hours without showing her face to the family and not allowing them to undertake the necessary rituals — amounts to gross violation of fundamental/human rights. “If so, who is responsible for the same so as to fix their accountability and liability and how the family of the victim be compensated for it,” the order said.
The bench took Prashant Kumar, ADG (Law and Order) to task over his claim that the rape was not proved, as the FSL report did not show any traces of semen on her body. It said no officer, who is not directly connected with the investigation, should make any statement in public on the offence based on evidence collected as it can lead to unnecessary speculation and confusion amongst the masses. “No one should indulge in character assassination of the victim just as the accused should not be pronounced guilty before a fair trial,” the order read, adding the probe agency and the courts should be allowed to determine them.
Hathras SP was transferred but not the DM. Why different yardsticks for two district officers?
Why did Prashant Kumar, ADG (Law and Order), Lucknow, cite the FCL lab report to make the no-rape claim when he was not directly connected with the probe, which is still pending?
Isn’t the police aware of the amendments to the definition of rape in 2013, which says mere absence of semen is not conclusive evidence in rape cases