Libertatem Magazine

Calcutta HC reacts to serious allegations against the State Machinery involving Rape of a Minor

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On 3rd February 2020, a writ petition was filed by Halima Bibi against the State of West Bengal & Ors involving the rape and murder of her grand-daughter who is also a minor.

The case was heard by the Honourable Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya.

Arguments of the learned counsel

The learned counsel on behalf of the petitioner has lodged a missing diary after which the body of the deceased was recovered.

  • The recovered body shows signs of severe torture on the child, including rape and other sexual offences as well. Despite the severe nature of the crime and the events following the recovery of the body, the Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is in charge of the investigation has not clubbed the Sec 376 of IPC (punishment for rape) with appropriate sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)Act.
  • The petitioner, as per the counsel, alleges that the actions of the CID show that they are trying to protect the offenders. The counsel further submitted that the petitioner has lost faith in the state machinery as there is a sense that the accused are from influential backgrounds. It is evident by the fact that despite the prayer for bail being rejected on the second occasion, the accused is still not in custody.
  • It is also argued by the petitioner that the CID’s apathetic approach is due to the economically backward social status of the petitioner who earns her livelihood by seeking alms from people.

Learned counsel for the State has filed a Criminal Investigation Report. The counsel submitted that more time is required for making noticeable progress in the case. Also, the learned counsel for the State respondent stated that both the accused have been arrested.

The counsel for Respondent No. 6, i.e. the medical examiner (ME) who has signed the post-mortem report of the body has submitted that the body was not in a condition to ascertain whether any sexual offence had been committed on the chid. Contrary to the allegations of the petitioner, the counsel for respondent no. 6 argued that the state of decomposition was the reason and not negligence on part of the examiner,

Decision of the Court

The Court directed the respondents to file affidavits-in-opposition within a fortnight and fixed the matter for hearing on 26th February 2020 under “Specially Fixed Matters”.

In the light of another case of assault of two women by supporters of Trinamool Congress and a panchayat upapradhan from Trinamool, a lot of attention will be directed towards how the Court handles this case.

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