The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the CBI to let it know on November 25 how much time it would take to complete the probe into the Hathras gangrape and murder case. It has also asked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to file an affidavit stating that it has provided security to the victim's family members.
A bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy is hearing a PIL which the court had earlier filed suo motu in the Hathras case. It heard the matter on November 2 and its order was made available on the court website on Thursday. A 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14. She died on September 29 at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital during treatment.
During the hearing on November 2, the bench asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to apprise it on November 25, the next date of hearing in the case, how long it would take to complete its probe in the case. It also asked the agency's lawyer, Anurag Thakur, to file a status report with regard to the investigation so far.
The bench directed the CRPF to file an affidavit stating that it has provided security to the victim's family members. During the hearing, the court had also expressed concern on allowing Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar to continue in office during the pendency of the investigation into the case.
Laxkar came under fire after the victim was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on September 30, with her family members alleging that they were not allowed to bring the body home one last time. Senior police and administration officials were also present at the cremation. The bench asked state government lawyer S V Raju if retaining Laxar was fair and reasonable.
The bench further asked Raju, "Would it not be appropriate to shift him elsewhere during pendency of these proceedings without there being any stigma attached to such an action only to ensure fairness and transparency in the matter?" At this, Raju assured the bench that he would convey the court's concern to the state government and get back to it on November 25.