•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

SCOI Report: Kangaroo court rape orders: SC comes to rescue but 2011 judgment on guilty cop punishment appears to have no takers [READ PETITION]

History was made in Court No.6 yesterday (Wednesday, 16 September) with justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre hearing in camera, Ravi, who is in judicial custody at the police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Khekhra, Bhagpat district, in connection with a crime registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act since May 28, 2015.

Ravi is the brother of the Dalit girl, Meenakshi Kumari, who, along with her sister, was allegedly ordered to be raped by a Khap Panchayat in Bhagpat district of Uttar Pradesh.

The alleged rape order was a punishment for Ravi’s eloping with a higher caste Jat girl, Krishna, who was subsequently married off to another man, Sunil Khatri, a resident of Haryana, belonging to the same Jat caste.

Krishna, according to Meenakshi’s petition in the Supreme Court, was pregnant with the child of Ravi, and faced the risk of honour killing by members of her family. Krishna left her matrimonial home, and came back to her parental home, and eloped with Ravi to avoid torture at the hands of her family.

On May 2, Ravi and Krishna surrendered before the Delhi Police. Krishna was later sent to Nari Niketan, and then to her parents. Krishna left her parents again after a few days, and eloped with Ravi.

On May 27, Krishna and Ravi surrendered to the Meerut Police, and on the next day, Ravi was arrested by the Baghpat police under the NDPS Act.

Meenakshi’s petition alleges that the khap panchayat was held on July 30, wherein the decision to avenge the dishonour of the Jat community by raping Meenakshi and her younger sister and parading them naked after blackening their faces was taken.

The khap panchayat also allegedly decided that her family should never be allowed to return to their village.

Ravi has been granted bail on June 25 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court for atrocities against women, Bhagpat. But he continued to be in jail because he was not able to get any sureties to secure the bail for him, as nobody was coming forward to bail him, because of fear of reprisal.

On Wednesday, the bench interacted with him in camera.

Later, the bench directed that Ravi be enlarged on bail on a personal bond in a sum of Rs.50,000 along with a bond from his elder brother Sumit, who is in the service of the Delhi Police, for the like sum. Certified copies of the same shall be forwarded to the trial court and the trial court will pass necessary consequential orders for the release of Ravi, the bench said in its order.

The bench also directed that no report under Section 173 CrPC should be filed against Ravi without further orders of the Supreme Court, and asked the UP Police to take necessary steps for protection of the life and liberty of the family members of the petitioner. The entire family is living in Delhi because of fear of reprisals in Baghpat; therefore, the bench directed the Delhi Police to take similar steps to protect them.

Even as the UP Government secured four weeks’ time to file counter in the case, it is sad to note that the Supreme Court’s direction in Arumugam Servai vs State of Tamil Nadu wherein the court declared khap panchayats wholly illegal and that it should be stamped out, remains only on paper.

Justice Markandey Katju, who wrote this judgment, along with Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, observed that the acts of khap panchayats amount to kangaroo courts, which are wholly illegal.

More importantly, the Katju-Misra bench had directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts.

The bench held that if any such incidents happen, the state government, apart from instituting criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, should immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and SSP/SPs of the district as well as other officials concerned, chargesheet them and proceed against them departmentally if they do not prevent the incident if it has not already occurred but they have knowledge of it in advance or if it has occurred, they do not promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them.

Photo by PanBK

Meenakshi Kumari: SC Petitition on khap order (PDF)

Click to show 1 comment
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.