SC Directs Puducherry Govt to Set up SIT Headed by Woman IPS Officer to Probe Rape

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By ETV Bharat English Desk

Published : Feb 12, 2024, 10:58 PM IST

Updated : Feb 12, 2024, 11:06 PM IST

The Supreme Court has directed Union Territory Puducherry to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be headed by a directly recruited woman IPS Officer to probe a rape and cheating case lodged by a college professor against a married police officer, who allegedly pretended to have married her and also asked her to undergo abortion twice.

A cheating case was lodged by a college professor against a married police officer alleging rape. Later, she approached the Supreme Court in 2022 and now, the apex court has directed the Puducherry government to set up a SIT headed by a woman IPS officer to probe the case, writes ETV Bharat's Sumit Saxena

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Puducherry government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be headed by a directly recruited woman IPS Officer to probe a rape and cheating case lodged by a college professor against a married police officer, who allegedly pretended to have married her and also asked her to undergo abortion twice. The apex court stressed it is the bounden duty of every court of law that injustice wherever visible must be hammered and the voice of the victim of the crime is dispassionately heard.

The complainant was aggrieved at the order passed in December 2020, by the judicial magistrate-II, Puducherry, which was further upheld by the High Court of Judicature at Madras in October 2021. With these orders, the application moved by the appellant seeking further investigation under Section 173(8) of Cr.P.C., on the ground that a part of the vital material to substantiate the allegations of commission of offences under Sections 376, 417 and 420 of the IPC was not collected by the investigating agency, was turned down by the trial magistrate and that order has been affirmed by the High Court. Then she moved to the apex court in 2022.

A bench comprising justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan said, “Owing to the status of the accused, Union Territory Puducherry is directed to constitute a Special Investigation Team to be headed by a directly recruited woman IPS Officer, along with two officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and Inspector of Police”.

“If a woman IPS Officer is not available in the State cadre, then any one of the officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Inspector must necessarily be a woman. The further investigation shall be completed by the SIT within three months," it added.

The bench said, “We may hasten to add here that the accused is a police officer. The allegation of undue influence and/or unintended favour towards him by the investigating officer cannot be brushed aside lightly”. The apex court noted that the woman in her application had alleged that the man was already married and was disqualified to perform the second marriage, and being a government officer, his second marriage during the subsistence of the first marriage would have been misconduct under the conduct rules. The bench noted that the first charge sheet itself suggested that the appellant and the accused had been living together and were in a physical relationship.

The bench said if that is so, the investigating agency ought to have further probed as to whether they have been cohabitating pursuant to the so-called marriage performed in 2012, or it was merely a consensual live-in relationship. Similarly, the investigating officer does not appear to have taken any pains to visit the hospital/medical clinics to verify whether the appellant underwent abortion twice, it added.

The bench said it was not sure whether the statements of the persons living in the neighbourhood were recorded or not to find out whether the appellant and the accused had been living together, as husband and wife. “All these facts will have a material bearing on the determination by the trial court as to whether a prima facie case under Sections 376, 417 and 420 of IPC is made out or not”, said the bench, in its February 2 order.

The bench set aside the concurrent findings of the High Court and trial court, which turned down the application for further investigation of the complainant. The apex court, while treating the application seeking further investigation as a protest petition, said: “It is the bounden duty of every court of law that injustice wherever visible must be hammered and the voice of a victim of the crime is dispassionately heard."

The bench noted that an application seeking further investigation can be treated as a protest petition if the application prima facie establishes the commission of the offences, and such an application can't be technically rejected because procedural recourse of filing a protest petition is not followed.

“That being so, it was a fit case where the learned Judicial Magistrate ought to have invoked his power under Section 173 (8) of Cr.P.C. and directed the Investigating Officer to further investigate such serious allegations. The denial of further investigation has led to gross injustice to the appellant”, said the bench, allowing the appeal filed by the complainant.

The complainant has alleged that her first marriage was dissolved by a decree of divorce in May 2006. She claimed that some ceremonies were alleged to have been performed in September 2012, whereby the accused pretended to have married her.

“They started living together as husband and wife. During this time the appellant got pregnant twice but was asked to abort the foetus in June 2013 and May 2014. Soon thereafter, respondent No 2 allegedly stopped meeting the appellant, thus, prompting her to lodge a complaint in August 2014”, noted the bench, in its order.

Read more: SC Agrees To Examine If A Divorced Muslim Woman Can Seek Maintenance Under CrPC

Last Updated :Feb 12, 2024, 11:06 PM IST
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