New Delhi: The Supreme court bench comprising of Justices R Banumathi and A.S. Bopanna on Friday evening met the girl student whose video had gone viral when she complained of harassment by former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand.
After interacting with the girl in chambers the bench told in open court that she has expressed an inclination not to return to Uttar Pradesh at the moment.
The division bench then directed the Supreme Court Registry to make arrangements for the stay of the girl in a specified place in Delhi for a period of four days. A team of Delhi Police personnel will ensure safe travel of her parents from Shahjahanpur to Delhi.
The Registrar has to ensure and co-ordinate the meeting between the girl and her parents and the girl shall not meet with anyone or talk to anyone after she has met with her parents and till she is produced before the Court again.
The suo moto matter of the Supreme court will be taken up again on 2 September.
Earlier on Friday, Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to produce before it, during the day, the student who has gone missing after she alleged sexual harassment at the hands of former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Swami Chinmayanand.
A group of lawyers, in a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, urged him to take suo moto action based on media reports that said the woman has been missing for the past three days.
"Your lordships, we the undersigned members of the legal fraternity and practicing lawyers of this court are extremely disturbed and concerned about the well being of the girl concerned. We as a society cannot allow another 'Unnao case' to happen. This court has been interfering in letter petitions when it comes to protection of human rights," the letter said.
On Wednesday, a group of women lawyers mentioned the issue before the Supreme Court, urging it to take cognizance of the matter. The bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna had agreed to hear the matter on Friday.
On Friday, the counsel appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government apprised the apex court, minutes before the hearing, that the student has been found in Rajasthan and was being taken to Shahjahanpur to meet her parents.
Thereafter, the bench asked the state's counsel to apprise it as to when the woman can be produced before the court. The lawyer responded that student, along with the police team, was enroute to Shahjahanpur and has reached Fatehpur Sikri.
The counsel said if the court asks the authorities to produce the woman before it on Friday, she can be brought within two-and-a-half hours.
After hearing the submissions, the court directed the state government to produce the woman before it during the day.
The bench said it would interact with the woman in-camera and the bench will assemble after that to pass appropriate orders.
The Shahjahanpur police had on Tuesday lodged an FIR against Chinmayanand after the student went missing following allegations of sexual harassment against him.
In a video clip, the woman also spoke about threat to her and her family's life.
Her father filed a complaint with police accusing Chinmayanand of sexually harassing her, a charge refuted by the BJP leader's lawyer who claimed it was a "conspiracy" to blackmail him.
The woman's father alleged that she went missing at the behest of the 72-year-old BJP leader, who heads Mumukshu ashram. She is a post-graduate student in one of the colleges run by the ashram.
The case has garnered a lot of attention, especially as it comes in the wake of the Unnao rape case.
In the Unnao rape case, a 19-year-old woman, who levelled rape allegations against BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar, suffered critical injuries in a road accident, along with her lawyer in Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh on 28 July.
Two of her aunts died in the accident and her family alleged that the accident was an attempt to eliminate her.