New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to list the petition filed by Unnao rape survivor seeking transfer of a criminal case against her in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao to the national capital.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said that it will list the matter, after advocate Vrinda Grover mentioned it before the Court for urgent listing. Grover said, “it is a very urgent matter” to which the bench said, “We will list it.”
Approaching the top court, she submitted that a non-bailable warrant (NBW) was issued against her by the Unnao ACJM court in an FIR filed by the father of Shubham Singh, one of three men currently facing trial in New Delhi for gang-raping the survivor.
She termed the case filed by Singh’s father– which alleged that the age-proof document provided by her (survivor) to the police was forged– a “counterblast FIR”.
She said that the case before the Unnao court is being pursued with the “oblique motive to intimidate, silence and harass” her and claimed that there was a grave threat to her life in Unnao.
“The criminal case in Unnao may be transferred to Delhi to prevent the judicial process from becoming an instrument of oppression and harassment. The transfer of the trial to Delhi will not prejudice the respondents whatsoever, and the same is in the interest of justice, equity and due process,” stated the plea while seeking transfer of the case.
The plea stated that she has filed an application before the ACJM Unnao for cancellation or withdrawal of the NBWs, saying that she is willing to appear before the court through video conferencing.
The plea further submitted that the counter-case was an abuse of the criminal justice process to drag her out of New Delhi and bring her to Unnao, where she will not only be at a grave risk of harm and injury, but will also be tormented by the memory of being repeatedly raped.
“There is a clear, grave and real risk to the personal safety and life of the petitioner, if she is forced to appear before and face a criminal trial in Unnao district, where she was repeatedly raped and gang-raped in 2017, by powerful people enjoying political and social clout, who also deviously murdered the petitioner’s father with the connivance of police officers of PS Makhi,” the plea submitted.
The woman was kidnapped and raped by former BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor.
On August 1, 2019, the apex court had transferred five cases pertaining to rape and gang-rape of the petitioner, as well as the murder and custodial death of her father, was transferred from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. It had ordered the trial to be finished within 45 days.
The Supreme Court had also directed that the survivor, her mother, and other members of the family be provided security by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
On December 20, 2019, Sengar was sentenced to jail for the “remainder of his natural biological life” in the rape case. Sengar was convicted under Section 376 IPC and section 5(c) and 6 of the POCSO Act.
On March 4, 2020, Sengar, his brother, and five others were convicted for the death of the rape survivor’s father in judicial custody and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.