On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court Bench dismissed the habeas corpus writ petition filed on behalf of the Hathras victim’s family against alleged illegal detention by the UP Government. The Bench consisted of Justices Pritinker Diwaker and Prakash Padia. Allahabad High Court Dismissed Habeas Corpus Writ Petition against alleged Detention of Hathras Victim’s Family.

Petitioner’s plea

  • A writ petition was filed on the behalf of victim’s family through Surender Kumar, who claimed to be the General Secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat, allegedly based on instructions given by the family over telephone, via WhatsApp. However, the state Government disputed this position and submitted that details of Mr. Kumar are subjected to verification.
  • It was alleged that the immediate family of the deceased victim have been illegally detained in their own homes by the UP Government.
  • It was further alleged that the family has been “gheraoed” at its own home since September 14, the date of the incident and only her brother was allowed to accompany her at the hospital in Agra. On September 28, when she was being moved to Delhi, the Government allowed two more members of the family to visit her.
  • It was also disclosed that the family was not given custody of the victim’s corpse and they remained forcefully confined in their homestead land and continue to remain as such.
  • It was also alleged that the family was prevented from even meeting or communicating freely, hence violating their Fundamental Right to freedom of Speech and Expression as well as the right to receive information under Art. 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.

State’s Contention

  • The State argued that the writ petition is not maintainable as the matter is already sub-judice before the Supreme Court.
  • It was claimed that when the victim’s family was informed about filing of the present petition, they had categorically stated that they did not authorize any one to file such petition.
  • It was also contended that pursuant to the direction given by the Hon’ble Apex Court, adequate protection and security has been provided to family members of the deceased victim-girl, including petitioners 1 to 6 and even personal guards have been deployed to ensure their safety. CCTV cameras have been installed near the house of the deceased victim-girl so that unwarranted and unsocial elements may not enter in the premises.

Court’s Decision

The Bench observed that the Apex Court is already seized with this matter in Satyama Dubey & Ors. V. Union of India & Ors. and thus, it shall not be proper for the High Court to entertain this petition. The Court stated,

Undisputedly, the Hon’ble Apex Court is in seisin of the entire case and the matter is being taken as a Public Interest Litigation by the Hon’ble Apex Court. State of UP has already been directed to file affidavit clarifying its stands.

In the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case, judicial propriety demands that it will not br proper for this Court to entertain the present petition on merits, especially when security has been provided to petitioners 1 to 6 and other family members of the deceased victim-girl on the observation made by the Hon’ble Apex Court and also on the basis of the directions issued by the Lucknow Bench of this Court on 01.10.2020 in a Suo Motu Petition.”

The Bench clarified that if the family has any grievance, then they shall be at liberty to file appropriate petition/ application before the Apex Court.

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