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Delhi Cantt rape: Delhi HC refuses to issue notice to Rahul Gandhi, instead notice to Twitter

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today refused to issue notice to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on a petition seeking registration of FIR and appropriate legal action against him for disclosing sensitive information about the nine-year-old rape victim in the Delhi Cantonment case and publishing pictures of her parents on his Twitter handle.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh refused to issue notice to Rahul Gandhi but issued notice to Twitter who is Respondent No 4 in the case and listed the matter for further hearing on November 30. 

The Court passed the order on a petition filed by social activist Makarand Suresh Mhadlekar, seeking directions to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Delhi Police Commissioner and micro-blogging site Twitter to initiate legal action against Rahul for violation of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Section 23 of the POCSO Act, 2012, for posting pictures of family members of the rape victim.

The Bench was informed on the last date of hearing that the Twitter account of the Congress leader has been blocked as the alleged tweet was in violation of Twitter’s policy.

On August 3, the NCPCR had issued notice to Twitter India, asking it to take action against the Twitter handle of the Wayanad MP. NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said the child rights body took action after taking cognisance of reports, which said that the Congress leader ‘sabotaged’ the identity of the minor victim by posting the photograph of her parents on his Twitter handle.

The Commission further said that the Wayanad MP had violated the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by revealing a rape victim’s identity. A Delhi-based lawyer had also filed a complaint with the Delhi Police against Gandhi.

A nine-year-old girl living in a rented house with her parents in Delhi’s Nangloi area was allegedly raped and murdered on August 1. According to her parents, she had gone to fetch water from a cooler at the crematorium at around 1730 hrs on Sunday.

Around 1800 hrs, crematorium’s priest Radhey Shyam and three other persons called the girl’s mother to the spot. Showing the girl’s body to her mother, they claimed that she got electrocuted while getting water from the cooler. There were burn marks between her left wrist and elbow, and her lips were also blue.

The priest and the others dissuaded her mother from making a PCR call, saying police would make a case out of it and during the post-mortem, doctors would steal the girl’s organs, so it was better to cremate her. The girl was cremated but subsequently, her parents alleged that it was done without their consent. A crowd of around 200 villagers gathered at the crematorium and the police were informed.

Later, the Delhi Police has told the Delhi Court that a nine-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered by a priest and his accomplices at a crematorium near Delhi Cantonment, died due to “suffocation” during the sexual assault. The city police cited the disclosure statement made by the two accused in the case. 

As per the Delhi Police (IO) reply in a court, “The accused have disclosed that at around 6:15 p.m., accused priest Radhey Shyam and Kuldeep Singh took the girl from Varanda to the hall of Radhey Shyam (which can be corroborated by prosecution witnesses), where the priest and Kuldeep made her lie on the Takhat and raped her. While committing rape, Kuldeep held the hands of the deceased and Radhey Shyam raped her. The accused priest kept his hand on the mouth of the deceased due to which she could not breathe and died of suffocation. Thereafter, the two accused took the body of the girl from the room of Radhey Shyam to the hall with a water cooler and kept it on the bench. 

Police also rejected the electrocution theory, which the priest told the victim’s mother. It said, “As per the FSL inspection report of the scene of crime conducted on the very same day, there was no electric current in the body of water cooler, with the cooler connected to the same electrical socket of Shamshan Ghat. As well the report of a forensic expert, no biological fluid/DNA trace/sample was found on the body of water cooler, which clearly suggests that the deceased was not electrocuted. Because in case of electrocution, DNA trace would be present on the body of water cooler.”

As per the opinion of the Post Morteum report, “on the basis of autopsy findings of examined body parts, we could not find any evidence related to electrocution.”/ILNS/KR/SNG

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