New Delhi: “Do you have any relative who has been raped”, an annoyed Supreme Court asked a lawyer today. The top court bench was annoyed as it asked the advocate, who had alleged that FIRs were not lodged by the police in rape cases involving powerful people like ministers, MPs or MLAs, what his locus standi was vis-a-vis the Unnao rape case.
It questioned the locus of the advocate in filing the PIL, wondering how public interest litigation can be filed in criminal cases.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao asked advocate ML Sharma how he was aggrieved with the Unnao rape case and how was he connected to the case.
“The Allahabad High Court has already passed some orders in the case. Mr Sharma you are not an aggrieved person in the case. There cannot be a PIL in a criminal case,” the bench observed.
Sharma alleged that in several rape cases involving former ministers or MLAs, no FIR were lodged by the police, wherever powerful people were involved. “Who are you in these rapes cases? Don’t be generic. Is any relative of a victim of rape before us for remedy? Do you have any relative who has been raped,” Justice Bobde asked the lawyer.
An uneasy calm prevailed among the lawyers in the courtroom after the bench’s remarks. When Sharma persisted with his arguments, the bench dismissed his petition saying it cannot be entertained. The apex court had on April 11 agreed to hear a plea for a CBI probe into the Unnao gangrape case allegedly involving a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh.
Sharma’s plea has also alleged that the rape victim’s father was tortured and killed in the police custody at the behest of the “ruling party” in the state. He also sought the court’s direction for a CBI probe into a case of kidnapping and rape of a minor girl last July allegedly involving a BJP legislator.
Alleging that the complaint had not named the legislator “under political pressure” and the state police would not carry out a “fair investigation under compulsion”, it said the matter should be handed over to the CBI for independent investigation. The public interest petition had also sought protection and compensation to the victims’ kin, as was provided in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.