The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred all five cases registered in the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court to Delhi while directing the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government to give ₹25 lakh to the rape survivor as interim compensation.
Amid growing nationwide outrage, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled the prime accused in the case, its UP legislator Kuldeep Sengar, following a road accident that left the rape survivor and her lawyer fighting for their lives in hospital. Her mother and two aunts were killed in the accident.
The case was heard after the court took note of a letter written by the survivor and her family to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday, listing the threats they have received to their lives. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case of murder and attempted murder against Sengar in connection with the road accident.
An apex court bench headed by Gogoi sought the presence of “a responsible" CBI official with details of the probe into the accident which took place on Sunday.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta listed the five cases that have been filed in connection with the rape—the original Unnao rape case; the case against the survivor’s father for keeping unlawful arms under provision of the Arms Act; the father’s death in police custody; the gangrape of the survivor again; and Sunday’s accident. However, the charges have not been framed in these cases.
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The court ordered the CBI to complete its probe into the accident within seven days. The CBI can seek an additional seven days but only in case of an exceptional circumstance, said the court. Sampat Meena, joint director of CBI, was present in the court.
The court also directed that the trial in the rape case must be completed within 45 days from its commencement once transferred to Delhi. The bench made it clear that it will not entertain any plea seeking to vacate or alter the order passed on Thursday. The court will hear the case next on Friday.
Following submissions made by senior advocate V. Giri, the amicus curiae, the court ordered security for the Unnao rape survivor, her siblings, other members of the family and her lawyer. CRPF jawans are to be deployed for their protection.
After Mehta informed the bench that doctors had given their verbal permission for the survivor and lawyer to be airlifted to Delhi, the court said it will pass an order in this regard only after receiving instructions from respective family members.
Separately on Thursday, the top court also questioned the Supreme Court secretary general over the delay in producing a letter dated 12 July, written by the rape survivor’s family, fearing for their lives, to CJI Gogoi.
Opposition members hit out at the government over the unfolding of events.
“It is sad that the ‘beti bachao beti padhao gang’ is silent over the issue. Women and child development minister Smriti Irani is an MP from UP, the PM himself is an MP from UP. But they are silent," said All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev.
Press Trust of India contributed to this story.