[Hathras Gang Rape] “No ifs and buts in providing relief to victim of atrocities against SC/ST”: - Allahabad High Court

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Relating to Hathras gang rape case, during hearing of the suo moto matter (In re: Right to decent & dignified last rights/cremation), Allahabad High Court on Friday commented that there should be no ifs and buts while interpreting the provisions relating to relief given to victim under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The matter was being heard before the Division Bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Jaspreet Singh. Hearing the arguments of the Amicus Curiae, Justice Roy said, 

“The provisions of Act of 1989 should be read purposely, there should be no ifs and buts.”

Amicus Curiae Senior counsel Jaideep Narain Mathur, Ms. Seema Kushwaha, counsel for the victim's family appeared before the Court.

Amicus Curiae Mathur apprised the court about affidavit filed on behalf of the State under which the victim’s family has been denied a house, an agricultural land and an employment to one family member of the gang rape victim arguing that family already has a house and land and the girl was herself dependent upon her father.

Amicus Curiae brought court's attention to Section 2(e)(c) of the Act where the victim has been defined and submitted that for the purpose of compensation too,  family member will also be included whether they are dependent upon the deceased person or not.

Following these submissions, court asked Adv. Kushwaha to file her reply to State’s such affidavit denying certain reliefs and posted the matter to be next heard on October 22 at 3:15 pm.

On the last date of hearing on September 16, issue of benefits made available to the victim and her family as per Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989 arose.

In this context, Ms. Kushwaha informed the court that an amount of Rs. 25 lakhs has been paid to victim's family, however, she and Amicus Curiae informed Court that according to ST/ST (Prevention of Atrocities)Rules 1995, relief given could be in cash or in kind or both and should be extended within 7 days.

Accordingly, it was pointed out before the court that neither a house & an employment to one family member of the deceased hasn't been provided nor the pension of 5k per month as envisaged under the provisions hasn't been provided to the victim's family.

To this, Court had asked the Amicus Curiae and other relating counsels to address the court on these aspects and adjourned the matter.

Last year in October, Allahabad High Court took suo moto cognizance of the issue of allegedly forceful cremation of the gang rape victim At 2 Am by UP police instead of handing her body to the family.

Case Title: Inre: Right to decent and dignified last rights/cremation