Casual Kunduli reply draws flak

Orissa High Court has expressed displeasure over the "casual manner" in which the state government filed its reply in connection with the Kunduli "gang-rape".

By LALMOHAN PATNAIK in Cuttack
  • Published 17.05.18
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Orissa High Court

Cuttack: Orissa High Court has expressed displeasure over the "casual manner" in which the state government filed its reply in connection with the Kunduli "gang-rape".

Refusing to accept the reply on Tuesday, the court fixed June 28 as a fresh deadline for the state government to file a detailed status report on the case.

Gautam Siddique, a high court lawyer, had filed a PIL on October 16 seeking a probe by CBI or National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the alleged gang-rape. A counter affidavit was filed by the state government on November 21.

The case had assumed significance as the BJD government was under constant flak from the Opposition - both the Congress and the BJP - for allegedly failing to deliver justice to the victim, who allegedly committed suicide on January 22.

When the court started hearing on the necessity of a CBI probe into the Kunduli incident on May 3, Siddique submitted his rejoinder to the reply given by the state government to the PIL filed by him.

Taking note of it, the court posted the matter to May 15 and issued fresh direction to the state government to file reply by May 10.

When the matter was taken up, the court found that the state government's reply had been filed in a casual manner instead of giving para-wise comments on the rejoinder filed by the PIL petitioner to the reply filed by it earlier.

Expressing disapproval over it, the division bench of Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice B.R. Sarangi posted the matter to July 3 for further hearing along with a fresh reply of the state government.

The court accordingly directed the state government to file a reply on June 28 giving up-to-date details on the investigation and the progress made so far. The court expected the petitioner to file a rejoinder to it again by June 30.

In his rejoinder filed earlier, Siddique argued that "the counter affidavit of the state government is a misconceived one and liable to be ignored as the state government and entire police mechanism has miserably failed to handle the case from all aspects".

Siddique had further pointed out that the recorded statement of the singular minor witness on the basis of which allegations of rape was negated has not been submitted along with the counter-affidavit.

In the counter-affidavit, the superintendent of police, Koraput, had stated that a CID-Crime Branch probe and a judicial inquiry were on following orders of the state government.

"After long six months of occurrence, the CID-Crime Branch has miserably failed to disclose the truth behind the allegation which is creating displeasure, retaliation and confusion among the public," Siddique contended in his rejoinder filed on May 3.