The Gauhati High Court has stayed an order a lower court in Arunachal Pradesh had passed to hand over a minor rape victim to a relative of the accused.
In a letter to the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police and other officials concerned on June 30, the Additional Advocate General of the State said the High Court’s Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia had taken suo motu cognisance of the case related to the custody of the minor girl.
The High Court accordingly stayed the June 3 order of the sessions court at Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lohit district asking the Child Care Institute (CCI) in Roing to hand over the girl to the sister-in-law of the accused person for safety.
Roing is the headquarters of Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley district adjoining Lohit. The girl was brought from Nepal and was working as a domestic help at the house of one Aka Kalung in Roing.
Scrapping the order passed by the Tezu court, the High Court directed that the child be kept in the custody of the CCI in Roing till the next date of hearing. The High Court also pointed out that the proceedings before the special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court in Tezu against the accused shall continue.
The High Court further asked Lower Dibang Valley’s Superintendent of Police to provide protection to the victim at the Roing CCI and restrain the visiting rights of the accused, his relatives and the girl’s father. An exception was granted for the girl’s mother.
The Director of Health Services in Arunachal Pradesh was directed to make an inquiry to ascertain the age of the victim by way of bone ossification test.
The victim’s medical examination done more than a month ago stated “there are signs of suggestive penetrative intercourse” while her age determination test suggested she is between 12 and 15 years.
The girl was reported missing on March 2. The case took a turn when she told the police that she had been subjected to sexual abuse by Kalung, following which the district Child Welfare Committee put her at the CCI.
A case under relevant sections of the POCSO Act was registered against Kalung in March. He was absconding before the district police caught him and filed a chargesheet against him on April 20.
He was granted bail later.