The NHRC has issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state police chief, seeking a report on the 'acquittal' of a man in a rape case 20 years after his conviction, officials said on Friday. In a statement, the rights panel has also said it has taken suo motu cognisance of the media report on the case, and observed that the content thereof, if true, amount to violation of human rights of the victim.
"The National Human Rights Commission on the reported acquittal of a man in a rape case, 20 years after his conviction, has observed that it seems to be a case of non-application of Section 433 CrPC by which the Sentence Review Board, under the law needs to reconsider review of the sentence awarded by the court, with a view to commute the sentence," it said in the statement.
It said that in many such cases there may be prisoners older than 75 years of age dying in the jails, which clearly depicts "ineffectiveness of the Sentence Review Board".
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the chief secretary and the director general of police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, it said. "The report must include the action taken against the public servants responsible in this case and steps taken for the relief and rehabilitation of the victim to compensate up to some extent for the trauma, mental agony and social stigma he has suffered during these years. The response is expected within six weeks," the statement said.
According to the media report carried on March 2, a 23-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court in a rape case. He has been declared innocent by the Allahabad High Court after 20 years. During this period, every member of his family had died. His conduct in the jail was always found good, but his application for furlough was not allowed to attend the cremation of his father. He was not even allowed to attend his brother's funeral, it said.
The victim was reportedly accused of rape, criminal intimidation and sexual exploitation of a woman belonging to Scheduled Caste in 1999, and during the trial of the case by a lower court in Lalitpur District, he was "found guilty". In the year 2003, he was moved to Agra Central Jail where his conduct was always good, the statement said.
In the year 2005, he decided to challenge the verdict of the lower court and approached the high court. After completing a period of 14 years, he moved a mercy plea and the prison authorities stepped in. The State Legal Services Authorities helped him in preferring an appeal in the high court and on January 28, 2021, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court declared him "not guilty", it added.