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SC, Women’s Comm’n take up ‘kangaroo court’ gang rape case suo motu, WBHRC hands tied without AK Ganguly

The Supreme Court and the West Bengal Commission for Women today took suo motu cognisance of Monday’s alleged gang-rape of a 20-year-old tribal woman in the state’s Birbhum district, reported Zee News and IANS respectively.

However the state human rights commission failed to act because it is missing a judicial member following the resignation of former chairman AK Ganguly.

An SC bench comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and justices Ranjan Gogoi and MY Eqbal issued the following order today:

“The news item published in the Business & Financial News is taken on the file of this Court. The District Judge, Birbhum District, West Bengal, is directed to inspect the concerned place and submit a report to this Court within a period of one week from today.List on 31st January, 2014.”

The woman was allegedly raped by over a dozen men of her village community yesterday night on the orders of a “village court”, in lieu of failing to pay a Rs 50,000 fine for having an affair with a man outside her community.

13 people have been arrested in connection with the rape so far, while the woman is undergoing treatment at a hospital.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission currently has only one member who is also its chairperson, ever since Ganguly resigned from the position following sexual harassment allegations against him by his former intern. The remaining member is non-judicial and the commission, which has taken up several violations in the past, currently lacks the requisite quorum to take cognisance in this case.

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