Record abuse victim’s statement at home, SC tells Haryana Police

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Haryana Police to go to the residence of a sexual abuse victim – a student of BBA/MBA course of Jindal Global University – to record her statement instead of insisting her to come to police.

The apex court vacation bench of Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Amitava Roy said this as it asked Haryana Police to file status report on their investigations into the allegation of sexual abuse of the girl, including cyber dimension of the offence, and the statement of the girl.

It is never necessary that you call the victim to come to you for giving statement, you too can go to her for recording her version, the court told Additional Solicitor General P.S. Patwalia, asking “Why can’t investigating officer go to her house?”

Asking the victim to cooperate with police in the investigation, the court said it is upon the receipt of the status report from Haryana Police that it would take a call on the girl’s plea for transfer of investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Patwalia also sought direction to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to undertake the examination of the mobile phone devices and laptops submitted to it as the lab, being a central government body, took orders from central authorities only.

Directing the listing of the matter on July 8, the court sought the response of the central government on the issuance of the notification for the appointment of examiner of electronic devices as provided under Section 79A the Information Technology ACT, 2008.

The court sought the response of the central government on the issue after Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand backed the submission by senior counsel Indira Jaising that the electronic devices used in the cyber offences dimension of the sexual abuse could only be examined by the examiner appointed by the central government under Section 79A of the I.T. Act, 2008.

Urging the court to seek the response of the government on the appointment of the examiner of electronic devices involved in cyber offences, Pinki Anand told the court “it will facilitate not only in this case but in many other cases”.

Section 79A of the I.T. Act, 2008, provides: “The central government may, for the purposes of providing expert opinion on electronic form evidence before any court or other authority specify, by notification in the official gazette, any department, body or agency of the central government or a state government as an examiner of electronic evidence.”

Jaising told the court that there were numerous defects in the status report filed by the state police on its investigation before the apex court

As senior counsel Jaising took the court through the records to show that Haryana Police was trying to cloud the investigations by not addressing all the dimensions of the case including cyber offence, Patwalia appearing for Haryana told the court a SIT under any of the senior ranking lady officers of state police could be constituted to investigate the case.

He said that if victim had any apprehensions about handing over her mobile phone to the officials of the state police then she could hand it over to the court in a sealed cover which in turn would be sent to CFSL laboratory for testing.

Patwalia’s suggestion came as Jaising said that the mobile phone of the victim girl, which had crucial evidence, could not be passed on to the state police officials as she apprehended tampering.

As Jaising urged the court for more effective intervention, the court said “too much of investigation also spoils the case. If we start monitoring the investigations and trials then nothing would be done independently.”

The victim who is a student of second year of five-year integrated BBA/MBA course in Jindal Global University in Sonipat in Haryana has sought transfer of investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse from the state police to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

She was allegedly sexually abused by Hardik Sikri, Vikas Garg and Karan Chhabra of Jindal Global Law School and are senior to the victim by two years. Currently they are in judicial custody.

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