Supreme Court on Monday took note of the alleged controversial statement of UP minister Azam Khan that the Bulandshahr gangrape of a mother and her daughter was a “political conspiracy” and sought his and the SP government’s response to a plea to shift the probe and trial in the case out of the state due to “distrust”.
The brutal incident had happened on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida- based family and sexually assaulted the woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle at gun-point.
The 14-year-old victim had earlier this month moved the Supreme Court, seeking FIR against both UP Minster Azam Khan and erring police officers.
The bench constituted of justice Dipak Misra and C Nagappan appointed jurist and senior lawyer F S Nariman as amicus curiae (friend of the court), as it framed some legal questions with regard to freedom of speech and expression and probable impact of statements of those holding high offices on free and fair probe in heinous cases like this.
The bench noted the apprehensions of the victim family, represented by lawyer Kislay Pandey, that there was no possibility of a “fair investigation” in Uttar Pradesh in view of the fact that a Minister has allegedly made a public statement that it was a “political conspiracy”.
Framing the questions for its adjudication, the bench said “when a victim files an FIR alleging rape/gangrape/murder or such other heinous offences against a person or a group of persons, whether any individual, holding a high office or who is in authority, should make a comment on the crime that it was an outcome of political conspiracy, moreover when he has nothing to do with the offence.”
It further said whether the state, which is “the protector of citizens”, should allow these comments which can have an effect or “may create distrust” with regard to fair investigation in such cases.
The bench, while framing another question, said it would examine whether such statements are covered under the freedom of speech and expression of an individual.
It further said the statements, which are not given for self protection, comply with the concept of “constitutional sensitivities”. The plea will now be taken up after three weeks.
(Feature image source: PTI)