Don't Harass The Person Who Took The Video: Madras HC In The Forcible Conversion-Suicide Case [Read Order]
The Court also directed Police not to interfere in the performance of the final rights of the victim in the customary mode.
In a special sitting held today, Justice G. R. Swaminathan of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu Police not to harass the person who took the video of the deceased child, in which the child is seen saying that she was compelled by the School authorities to convert to Christianity.
"The respondent police are restrained from harassing the person who had taken the video of the child, in which, she is found making an allegation that she was called upon to convert to Christianity.", the Court directed while stressing that Police should focus on the circumstances that lead to the suicide and not go after the person who took the video.
"The focus of the police authorities should be on the circumstances that led to the suicide of the child and it cannot be directed against the person who had taken the video", the Court said in its order.
Yesterday, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had demanded an action taken report from the Tamil Nadu Police on a complaint regarding the suicide, within seven days. (read report)
The 17-year-old girl died on 19th January in hospital after she consumed poison on the 9th January at the hostel of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School at Michaelpatti in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu.
In a video of the deceased girl recorded at the hospital, she is seen saying that the School authorities told her and her parents that if she converted to Christianity, they would help her with her further studies. As per her parents, the girl was tortured after she refused to oblige. It is alleged that the girl was compelled to clean toilets in all rooms in the hostel.
The Tamil Nadu Police however refused to accept the videographed statement of the deceased girl or the version of her parents.
As per news reports, the Police registered a case against the warden of the hostel, Sahayamary, who was arrested and then admitted to hospital after she complained about ill-health.
The parents of the girl moved the Madras High Court seeking transfer of the investigation to C.B.C.I.D or any other independent investigating agency.
Yesterday, the Court had directed, "Forensic autopsy to be performed on the deceased L...... and it shall be duly videographed. The learned counsel for the petitioner alleges that the parents of the deceased and the person who took the video of L.... alleging that she was asked to convert to christianity are being pressurised by the police. The respondent police shall conduct themselves appropriately so as not to give rise to such allegations."
Thereafter, the Additional Public Prosecutor informed the Registry that the postmortem had already been performed on the child and he wanted to know if the court had ordered a second postmortem to be conducted.
It was on account of this confusion that the Court heard the matter today in a special sitting.
Today, the Court also directed that the Police should not interfere in the performance of final rights of the victim in the customary mode.
"I make it clear that the final rites will be performed in the customary mode and the police shall not interfere with the said performance. The Principal District Judge, Thanjavur is also directed to nominate a Judicial Magistrate for the purpose of recording the statement of the petitioner and his wife under Section 164 of Cr.Pc, tomorrow ie., 23.01.2022. A copy of the said statement shall be made available in a sealed cover for the perusal of this Court by Monday (24.01.2022) at 04.00 P.M.", the Court ordered.
The matter will be heard further at 4 pm on Monday.
Click here to read/download the Order