The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the Habeas corpus petition filed for the release of the Hathras Gang rape victim’s family members, who are stated to be under illegal detention by the Uttar Pradesh administration in their own home.
Arguments put forth by State
The Court took note of preliminary objections made by the State counsel who raising doubts regarding the manner of appointment of counsel and asserted that there was no illegal confinement. In this regard of Hathras Gang rape , the State had raised the following arguments:
- The petition was filed without obtaining Vakalatnama of the family members. No Vakalatnama was ever executed by Surender Kumar in favour of Advocate Mehmood Pracha or any of the two Advocates through whom the plea was moved.
- When victim’s family was informed about filing of the present petition, they have categorically stated that they have not authorized any one to file such petition;
- The ‘so-called’ screenshot of the WhatsApp message engaging the counsel was nothing but a forwarded message of which details were not available. The message merely stated that “in the case of deceased victim-girl, through Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat, Mr Mehmood Pracha is being appointed as Counsel.” Such a message was vague and did not make it clear as to who wanted to appoint whom and further in which case such ab alleged appointment was being made;
- The Supreme Court has already directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to provide adequate protection and security to the victim’s family members.
- Adequate protection and security has been provided to family members of the deceased victim-girl in Hathras Gang rape. Personal guards have also been deployed on duty to ensure their safety;
- CCTV Cameras have been installed near the house of the deceased victim-girl so that unwarranted and unsocial elements may not enter in the premises;
- That the petitioners were free to move. They never made any request before the Administration for going anywhere. Their security was of paramount consideration for the State and no restriction whatsoever has been put upon them;
- If the family were permitted to go to Delhi escort free, the very purpose of giving them security pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Court as well as the Lucknow Bench of the High Court would be frustrated.
It was added that the plea was not maintainable as the Hathras Gang rape case is already sub-judice before the Supreme Court.Taking note of these submissions and given that the matter is before the Supreme Court, the High Court proceeded to dismiss the plea.
Without entering into the merits of the case, a bench of Justices Prakash Padia and Pritinker Diwaker dismissed the petition while noting that,
“.…judicial propriety demands that it will not be proper for this Court to entertain the present petition on merits, especially when security has been provided to petitioners 1 to 6 and other family members of the deceased victim-girl on the observation made by the Hon’ble Apex Court and also on the basis of the directions issued by the Lucknow Bench of this Court on 01.10.2020 in a Suo Motu Petition.”
However, the Bench declined to interfere, while also noting that the Supreme Court has already asked the State of Uttar Pradesh to clarify their stand in Hathras Gang rape case.
“Undisputedly, the Hon’ble Apex Court is in seisin of the entire case and the matter is being taken as a Public Interest Litigation by the Hon’ble Apex Court. State of Uttar Pradesh has already been directed to file affidavit clarifying its stands.”