The Allahabad High Court has directed the State Government to consider providing employment to one of the family members of the Hathras gangrape victim within 3 months.

The Bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Jaspreet Singh observed thus "We accordingly direct the State Government to consider employment of one of the family member in the light of the what has been discussed hereinabove under the Government or Government Undertaking commensurate with the qualification possessed by them keeping in mind the document dated 30.09.2020 and the assurance contained therein. This shall be done within three months from the date of receipt of this order."

The Court also directed the state authorities to consider relocation of the victim's family outside Hathras but within Uttar Pradesh.

The Court in this regard held"…we are of the opinion that the State should consider their relocation to any other place within the State outside Hathras keeping in mind their social and economic rehabilitation and also the educational needs of the children."

The case pertains to the alleged rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl belonging to Scheduled Caste in Hathras District. She was cremated in the wee hours of the night intervening 29/30 September 2020 which appeared to be against the wishes of her family members.

The victim's family had demanded a job and relocation outside Hathras. It was submitted that after the incident, the brothers and father of the victim were rendered jobless and the family had meagre agricultural land for its subsistence.

Advocate Seema Kushwaha representing the victim's family contended that the Head of the State had given certain assurances with regard to employment, etc. to the victim's family. The monetary benefit as promised was extended but the employment part was not complied with.

She submitted that the family of the victim feels highly insecure, socially, economically, mentally, and psychologically. Hence a plea was made for relocation of the family members.

Senior Advocate SV Raju appearing for the state argued that the employment referred in Item 46 of Schedule Annexure-I to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 (Rules 1995) was only with respect to 'dependents' of the victim or widow which the family members were not.

He submitted that provision of such employment to the victim's family would not only violate the statutory provisions but would also be completely violative of public policy and hit by Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

He also submitted that the said reliefs could only be given after atrocities mentioned therein had been proved in trial meaning thereby such benefits could only be given after conclusion of trial and not before.

He contended that the victim's family cannot raise individual grievances herein for seeking employment, etc. under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Act 1989) and that they should raise these grievances separately.

The Court observed that the victims' family belongs to a downtrodden class of society and such persons are often not in a position to raise their grievance or assert their rights for various reasons.

The Court held thus "The relief of employment and rehabilitation, etc. being claimed by the victim's family are in terms of the the Act 1989 and the Rules 1995. These reliefs are consequential to the incident which took place involving the alleged rape and murder of the victim followed by her cremation in the mid of the night, therefore, it is not a matter unconnected with the proceedings which are pending before us."

On the contention that additional relief such as employment has to be provided after the trial is over and not prior to it, the Court noted We are unable to accept the aforesaid contention for the simple reason that this would defeat the object sought to be achieved. The Object is to provide additional relief at the earliest that is why a period of three months from the date of atrocity has been mentioned."

The Court also noted "…on facts we have already seen that it is the undisputed factual position that none of the male members of the victim's family is employed as of now. This is as a consequence of the atrocity committed. The only other source of income available is one and half bigha land in their possession, therefore, clearly a family which comprises of nine members with three children who in the days to come will go to school, does not have adequate means of sustenance. Clearly the family is in need of employment and that is why the same was promised by the Head of the State."

The Court noted that both the brothers of the victim were intermediate pass which was the minimum qualification for appointment on a Class – III (Group 'c') post in the Government and probably in Government Undertakings also.

Accordingly the Court directed the state government to consider giving employment to one of the family member within 3 months time.

As regards the relocation plea, the Court noted that there were only four families belonging to the Scheduled Castes in the said village, out of which, two had migrated after the incident. Majority of the population in the village belongs to the upper castes and it was stated that the family is always targeted by other villagers.

Hence considering the social and economic condition of the victim's family as also the mental state in which the family members claim to be, the Court directed the State Government to consider their relocation to any other place within the UP State outside Hathras keeping in mind their social and economic rehabilitation and also the educational needs of the children.

The Court also directed the District Magistrate, Hathras to look into the request by the family members on a representation regarding expenses under the SC/ST Act.

Cause Title- Suo-Moto Inre Right To Decent And Dignified Last Rites/Cremation v. State Of U.P. Thru Additional Chief Secretary Home And Ors

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