Video Is Authentic, Parents Confirm Attempt To Convert: Madras HC Passes Further Directions In Forced Conversion-Suicide Case
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has passed further directions in the case filed by the parent of the girl who committed suicide after alleging harassment by school authorities due to refusal to convert to Christianity.
The Bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan has recorded the statement of the investigating officer that the video is authentic. "Investigation Officer also confirms before this Court that the video that has been circulated in the social media in which the deceased alleged that there was attempt to convert her to Christianity is in the voice of the deceased", the Court records.
The Court has also recorded the statement of the parents that there was indeed an attempt by the school authorities to convert the girl. The Court states that,"The petitioner as well as his wife have categorically confirmed the attempt to convert".
The Court notes that mere acceptance by the investigating officer regarding authenticity of the video is not sufficient since electronic evidence will require certification as per the Information Technology Act. "In other words, the authenticity of the video is beyond dispute. However, this confirmation is not sufficient. An appropriate forensic analysis will have to be made. Therefore, the original mobile phone from which the video was recorded is required" the Court noted.
The Court also directed the person who recorded the video to appear before the Investigation Officer on 25th January and hand over the mobile phone.
The Court passed the following directions while stating that the timeline should be strictly adhered to:-
"a) The petitioner and his wife Saranya shall appear before the Investigation Officer at Vallam Camp Office tomorrow at 10.00 a.m.
b) Thiru.Muthuvel shall appear before the Investigation Officer tomorrow at 10.00 a.m and hand over the original mobile phone from which the video in question was recorded.
c) The Investigation Officer is directed to send the original mobile phone along with Compact Disk (C.D) to the Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Lab, Mylapore, Chennai immediately.
d) The Director, Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Lab, Mylapore, Chennai is directed to subject the mobile phone as well as the C.D and other materials that may be forwarded by the Investigation Officer and give a report answering the queries of the Investigation Officer by 05.00 P.M on 27.01.2022. The Investigation Officer shall station a special messenger to receive the same.
e) The Regional Forensic Science Lab, Thanjavur is directed to submit the viscera report as well as the other reports sought for by the Investigation Officer by 04.00 P.M on 27.01.2022.
f) The postmortem report containing the final opinion shall also be submitted to the Investigation Officer by then.
g) Since the Investigation Officer is having the statements of the petitioner and his wife recorded under Section 164 of Cr.Pc before the Judicial Magistrate and since there is no doubt or dispute regarding the authenticity of the voice in the video in question, the Investigation Officer shall take a call regarding filing alteration report by tomorrow evening."
Earlier, the Court had directed the Tamil Nadu Police not to harass the person who took the video of the deceased child. (read report)
The matter has been adjourned to January 28.