On October 27, 2020 the Supreme Court, through Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian asked the Allahabad High Court to monitor the ongoing CBI probe into the Hathras gang rape and murder of a young 19-year-old Dalit girl in the matter Satyama Dubey and ors vs Union of India (W.P Cri. No. 296 of 2020). The Bench noted that, “On the aspect relating to the investigation, since we have indicated that the High Court would look into that aspect of the matter, the CBI shall report to the High Court in the manner as would be directed by the High Court through its order from time to time.”
The court also directed that the CRPF will be providing security to the victim’s family and the witnesses pertaining to this investigation within a week from today’s order. It said, “Having taken note of the contentions and having perused the affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government we are convinced that steps have been taken by the State Government to make adequate arrangement for security to the victim’s family and witnesses. However, in a matter of present nature it is necessary to address the normal perception and pessimism which cannot be said as being without justification. In that view, without casting any aspersions on the security personnel of the State Police: in order to allay all apprehensions and only as a confidence building measure, we find it appropriate to direct that the security to the victim’s family and the witnesses shall be provided by the CRPF within a week from today.”
The Supreme Court also noted that this matter should not be transferred to Delhi as the investigation by the CBI is ongoing and if need be the decision to transfer the case to Delhi can be taken after the investigation by the CBI is complete.
The Bench said “On this aspect we are also of the view that it would be appropriate for investigating agency to complete the investigation and in any event since the local police have been divested of the investigation and the CBI is carrying out the investigation there would be no room for apprehensions at this stage. However, the issue as to whether the trial of the case if to be transferred is a matter which is kept open to be considered if need arises in future.”
The Apex Court also observed that the victim’s family members name and relationship with her was clearly depicted in an earlier High Court order of October 12, 2020 and the same should be removed.
“Since it is a requirement of law to avoid such disclosure, the High Court is requested to delete the same and also morph the same in the digital records and avoid indication of such contents in the future”, it remarked.
The 3 Judge Bench also took cognizance of the various Intervention Applications and Writ Petitions that were filed by individual activists, organizations and also the members of the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court Bar Association seeking CBI probe, witness protection, transfer of the case out of Uttar Pradesh, etc.
It is noteworthy that Citizens for Justice and Peace through its Secretary Ms. Teesta Setalvad had also moved an Intervention Application (Crl. M.P. No. 102148 of 2020) as listed third in the Supreme Court order dated October 27, 2020 demanding a CBI probe, protection of witness by Central Para Military Force and appointment of a retired Supreme Court Judge to investigate the circumstances which led to the cremation of the victim on September 30, 2020.
The order can be read here: