Supreme Court takes note of Azam Khan’s remark on Bulandshahr gangrape

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Taking note of a plea of the father of the Bulandshahr gangrape victim that the probe and trial in the case be shifted out of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the state government and its minister Azam Khan in the matter.

A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan also took note of the alleged controversial statement of the state’s Urban Development Minister Khan that the incident was a “political conspiracy”, as the plea sought registration of an FIR against him.

It also appointed jurist and senior lawyer F S Nariman as amicus curiae in the matter which will now be taken up after three weeks.

The court framed several constitutional questions including whether a person, holding public office, can give a statement which may create “distrust” in the minds of the victims about a fair probe in the case and whether such a statement can be a part of freedom of speech and expression.

The man, whose wife and daughter were gangraped last month on a highway in Bulandshahr, had on August 13 moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case to Delhi, besides lodging of an FIR against Khan as well as several policemen.

The brutal incident had happened on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida- based family and sexually assaulted the woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle which had four other occupants.

The Allahabad High Court had ordered CBI probe into the incident besides deciding to monitor the investigation.

In the plea filed in the apex court through lawyer Kislay Pandey, the victim’s father sought an order for transferring the trial of the case to Delhi “in the interest of justice”.

Unhappy with the UP police, the petitioner said the probe should be conducted by “some other competent agency”.

Referring to Khan’s alleged controversial remark that there was a “political conspiracy” in gangrape, the plea said an FIR be registered against him as his statement “substantially outrages” the “modesty” of the victims and their family.

The plea sought “appropriate damages” for the victims besides a direction that the state and others, including the DGP, be stopped from infringing on the fundamental right to life of the victims.

“Direct the respondents (State Home Secretary, Khan, DGP and SSP of Bulandshahr) to pay the appropriate damages to the petitioner as per law,” the plea said.

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