Hathras Case: Allahabad High Court Questions Uttar Pradesh Authorities
While questioning Uttar Pradesh authorities the Court held that hasty cremation of the victim at odd hours without family's consent prima facie violated human rights.
In a recent hearing, the Allahabad High Court questioned Uttar Pradesh authorities for their decision to cremate the Hathras rape victim at dawn and not handing over the body to the family members.
The Court noted that the decision to cremate the victim in this manner was taken jointly by the administration at the local level and was implemented on the orders of the District Magistrate, Hathras.
The District Magistrate claimed that the decision to cremate the victim was taken in the interest of maintaining law and order.
Unsatisfied with his explanations, the Bench of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Rajan Roy observed,
"This action of the State Authorities, though in the name of law and order situation, is prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family. The victim was at least entitled to decent cremation in accordance with her religious customs and rituals which essentially are to be performed by her family. Cremation is one of the 'Sanskars' i.e., antim sanskar recognized as an important ritual which could not have been compromised taking shelter of law & order situation."
The Court further noted,
"We do not at this stage find any good reason on behalf of the administration as to why they could not hand over the body to the family members for some time, say for even half an hour, to enable them to perform their rituals at home and thereafter to cremate it either in the night or next day."
The Court also gave the following orders:
The State administration should ensure the safety and security of the family members of the victim.
The investigation being carried out by the SIT or by any other agency such as CBI is to be kept confidential.
Media and the political parties should ensure that they air their views in a manner which does not disturb social harmony or infringe upon the rights of the victim's family and that of the accused.
Compensation announced by the State may be offered to the family at the earliest.
The Superintendent of Police, Hathras, Vikrant Vir who was suspended, did not appear in Court. He was asked to appear on the next date. The State Government has been asked to communicate the said order to him.
The next hearing is scheduled on November 2.
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