The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a widow in her late 20s was allegedly sold by her father and aunt for Rs 10,000/-, gang-raped by her keeper his friends and then turned away by the police when she approached them for help. It also reveals that the traumatized woman set herself on fire last month and is not battling for life with 80 percent burns at a private hospital in Delhi.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, and Director General of Police, Government of Uttar Pradesh, calling for a detailed report of the treatment of the victim lady, ensuring protection to her life and steps to be taken for her rehabilitation. The DGP has been further directed to inform the Commission in detail about the progress of the investigation and arrest, if any, be made to the perpetrators. It has called for both the reports within four weeks.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to gross violation of human rights of the victim woman. These give an extremely shocking and pulsating narrative depicting vulnerability of the helpless woman, who became a widow at an early age, whereby she had been subjected to huge kind of deprivation of human life and dignity. Moreover, remissness and the act of negligence on the part of police authorities for not registering the case timely by arresting the accused person has aggravated the distressful plight of the lady, which cannot be tolerated in a civilized society governed by rule of law.

The Commission has observed that it has always been keen to address the issues relating to violation of human rights of the weaker section mainly women and children. It is conscious of the fact that the Delhi Commission for Women has issued Notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh but jurisdiction of said Commission fails to empower them to provide adequate justice to the victim, the lady in question. Any Commission other than National Commission has its jurisdiction within the territory of the State and Delhi Commission for Women is also not an exception. On the other hand, the National Human Rights Commission in view of Section 1 (2) of the PHR Act, 1993, can exercise its power and functions whole of India and therefore jurisdictional issue of Section 36 (1) of the said Act, will not stand in the way to take up the reported incident.

According to the media report, carried today on the 13th May, 2019, the woman from Hapur in West Uttar Pradesh, was allegedly sold after the death of her husband. The man who bought her had taken loans from several people and sent the woman as domestic help to the houses of his creditors where she was repeatedly harassed and raped. The news report also stated that an FIR had now been registered against the 14 persons under the various sections of rape and investigation initiated in the case. The news report also reveals that the Delhi Commission for Women has taken up her case and written to the Utter Pradesh Chief Minister seeking justice for the woman.

It is reported that the woman alleged that she approached the police officials as well as Superintendent of Police, Hapur but they refused to register her complaint, let alone take any action against the accused.

[Press Release dt. 13-05-2019]


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