On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea to challenge the Allahabad High Court’s order to consider providing a job to a family member of a Dalit woman who was gang-raped and murdered by upper-caste Hindu men in Hathras district in 2020.
Last July, the Allahabad High Court had ruled that the state government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party must honor their commitment made on September 30, 2020, wherein they had promised to provide a Group C position in the state government to a member of the woman’s family.
The High Court had also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to consider the possibility of relocating the family to a different location within the state, but outside Hathras. The court acknowledged the challenges faced by the family in leading a normal life in the village dominated by upper-caste Hindus after the caste based violence.
On Monday, during the hearing, Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad represented the Uttar Pradesh government and suggested that the Supreme Court should examine whether the Dalit woman’s elder married brother could be considered as her dependent. She further stated that the government is willing to relocate the family, but they prefer moving to Noida, Ghaziabad or Delhi.
The bench, which included Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, stated that they are unwilling to intervene in the matter due to its special facts and circumstances.
“These are facilities provided to the family,” the judges noted. “We should not interfere. State should not come up in these matters.”
In Hathras on September 14, 2020, four upper-caste Hindu men named Sandeep, Ramu, Luv Kush and Ravi raped and brutally assaulted a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who died of her injuries a fortnight later in Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. The incident caused an uproar after the woman was cremated at night without her family’s presence.
The Allahabad High Court took suo motu cognizance of the case and the events leading up to the cremation. The Supreme Court called the incident “extraordinary and shocking” and directed the High Court to oversee the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation. However, the Uttar Pradesh government has denied that the woman was raped, citing a forensic report that found no traces of sperm in her samples.
Despite this, the chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, where the woman was first admitted, claimed that the forensic report held no value as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the alleged crime. On March 2, a court in Uttar Pradesh acquitted Ramu, Luv Kush and Ravi of all charges, while Sandeep, the primary accused, was found not guilty of rape but convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and offenses under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.