'Hurried Cremation Violated Rights Of Victim, Family': Allahabad HC Pulls Up State Govt

The court had earlier warned the police about the rape laws, which accept a dying declaration from an assaulted woman as a fact.

Uttar Pradesh   |   14 Oct 2020 6:03 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-10-14T12:24:34+05:30
Writer : Navya Singh | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Vijay S Hegde
Hurried Cremation Violated Rights Of Victim, Family: Allahabad HC Pulls Up State Govt
Image Credit: Wikimedia

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday, October 13, said that the victim of the Hathras alleged gang-rape and murder was "entitled to a decent cremation in accordance with her religious customs, which essentially are to be performed by her family."

The Lucknow bench has taken suo moto cognisance in the case of the alleged gangrape and death of the young woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras by four caste men.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had "cremated" the body of the victim in the dead of the night, in the absence of her family members. The incident triggered massive outrage across the country.

"Action of state authorities, in name of law and order situation, is prima facie an infringement upon human rights of the victim and her family. She was entitled to decent cremation in accordance with her religious customs which essentially are to be performed by her family," the bench observed.

The court, in its order issued on Tuesday, said that the larger issue that this incident points to impacts such rights of other residents of the entire state.

The court observed that the "right to dignity and fair treatment under Article 21 of the Constitution is not only available to a living person, but also to his/her body after death."

"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.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar was pulled up for his comments where he denied any evidence of rape in the case. The court asked him whether the investigation was concluded and if Kumar was aware of the new rape law of 2013.

The court had earlier warned the police about the rape laws, which accept a dying declaration from an assaulted woman as a fact.

"Facts, as of now, ex facie, reveal that decision to cremate the victim in the night without handing over the body to the family or their consent was taken jointly by the administration at the local level and was implemented on the orders of DM, Hathras," the bench stated.

The bench has ordered for the suspended Hathras SP Vikrant Veer to appear before the court in the next hearing, scheduled for November 2.

The court has also ordered the state administration to ensure the security of the victim's family. "Any investigation or inquiry, being carried on either by an SIT or any other agency, should be kept confidential and no report is leaked to the public," the court observed.

Also Read: Law Student Who Accused Chinmayanand Of Rape Turns Hostile In Court

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