Day 7 Arguments: 19 August 2019
Today, a two judge bench of the Supreme Court - comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose - monitored the implementation of its orders in the Unnao rape matter. The court granted the CBI two weeks to complete its investigation in the five cases. It also directed the payment of Rs 5 lakhs as compensation to the victim’s lawyer.
In July 2019, the court initiated a suo moto writ petition to issue guidelines for the speedy investigation and trial of child sexual abuse cases registered under the POCSO Act. Senior Advocate V Giri is assisting the court as Amicus Curiae. On 25 July, the court directed the setting up of special courts- within 60 days - in every ditrict having more than 100 pending POCSO cases. It directed the government to submit its progress within 4 weeks.
On 31 July, the Chief Justice of India took cognisance of a letter written by the Unnao rape victim’s family detailing the incidents of their victimisation and requesting timely fair investigation and trial into the incidents of intimidation. The court tagged the matter for hearing in its suo moto writ petition, as the victim was a minor at the time of the alleged crime.
On 1 August, the court directed the CBI to complete its investigation in the fifth case (pertaining to the suspicious accident which critically endangered the lives of the victim and her lawyer, and killed two of the victim’s family members) within 7 days. It granted an additional week’s time if exceptional circumstances prevailed. It further provided the victim and her lawyer the option of being airlifted to Delhi for advanced medical treatment, transferred the cases to Delhi, ordered the trial of all cases to be completed within 45 days of commencement, provided security protection to the victim and her family and ordered the payment of compensation to the victim.
On 2 August, it stayed the transfer of the fifth case to ensure that jurisdiction issues do not hinder speedy completion of investigation. Further, it ordered the transfer of the victim’s uncle to Tihar jail in Delhi from Raebareilly jai, Uttar Pradesh.
In today’s hearing, Justice Deepak Gupta directed the victims to stop making statements to the press. He stated that the victims could approach the court through the Amicus Curiae if they needed help.
The court was informed that the investigation relating to the collection of material had already been completed, especially with regards to electronic reports. However, the statements of the victim and her lawyer had not been recorded, as the two are not in a position to make a statement.
Amicus Curiae V Giri informed the court that the victim’s lawyer continues to be in a critical condition, though he has been shifted to AIIMS, Delhi. The court noted that despite the treatment being free, several other expenses require to be paid. Therefore, the court court directed Rs 5 lakh to be disbursed to his wife within 3 days. The court stated that this amount may be adjusted against the final compensation.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) requested four weeks’ time to complete its investigation. However, it was only granted two weeks’ time.
The court will next hear the Unnao rape matter on 6 September.