Supreme Court: In the petition preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, where the petitioner, a hapless and helpless widow of a senior reporter of a news daily, i.e., ‘Dainik Hindustan’ had asserted that her husband, Rajdev Ranjan, was brutally murdered on 13.05.2016 by a group of persons, the bench of Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan, JJ directed the CBI to proceed with the investigation but not finalize it and to file the status report before this Court on the next date of hearing i.e. 17.10.2016. The Court also directed the Superintendent of Police, Siwan District to provide police protection to the petitioner and her family.

Petitioner’s counsel argued that the case at hand depicts a disturbing affair in regard to criminilization of politics, as the people holding party position and position in the political executive do not even think for a moment before associating themselves with such kind of anti-social elements and, in fact, sometimes render assistance. He argued that if the investigation and trial takes place in the Siwan District in the State of Bihar, the respondent nos. 3 and 4 and the other accused persons will terrorise the witnesses as a consequence of which the petitioner would not get any justice and remain a constant victim searching for solace.

Considering the aforementioned arguments, the Court said that it is prima facie discernible that the petitioner who lives with two small children, after losing her husband and the developments that have taken place in the District Siwan, is in a state of continuous fear. It was further said that even though courage is the mother of all virtues and a man with courage can always sustain his or her dignity, but, sometimes, situations are created by certain powerful protagonists which instill fear in the mind of a citizen and that fear has the potentiality to usher in atrophy to the sense of dignity.

Out of the 2 principal accused persons, namely, Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed, who were declared proclaimed offenders by the Court, Mohammad Kaif, after being spotted with Mohammad Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap Yadav, surrendered to custody on 21.09.2016.

The Court issued notice to all the respondents and placed the matter to be listed on 17.10.2016.  [Asha Ranjan v. State of Bihar, 2016 SCC Online SC 988, decided on 23.09.2016]


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