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NLU Jodhpur student's death: Supreme Court directs for fresh investigation, sets aside closure report of Rajasthan Police

The Court had earlier observed that the closure report filed by the Rajasthan Police was an "eye-wash" and that the case needed to be re-investigated.

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today directed for a fresh investigation into the 2017 death of a law student from National Law University, Jodhpur.

The Court has also set aside the closure report that was filed by the Rajasthan Police in the case. The Court said,

"We, therefore, set aside the closure report and direct a de novo investigation by a fresh team of investigators to be headed by a senior police officer of the State consisting of efficient personnel well conversant with use of modern investigation technology also. No officer who was part of the investigating team leading to the closure report shall be part of the team conducting de novo investigation."

The Court has held that the fresh investigation must be concluded within a period of two months and a Police report to that effect must be filed before the Court concerned where the matter will proceed in accordance with the law.

While allowing the petition, the Court noted that much time has passed and the matter certainly is of urgent nature.

The order was passed in a petitionwhich had sought the transfer of the investigation in the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), or alternatively, to a Court-monitored Special Investigation Team. The petition was filed by the deceased student's mother and was filed through Advocate Astha Sharma.

The Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee had reserved its order in the matter on September 8 after assessing the report submitted by the Rajasthan Police on the progress made in the investigation so far.

The Court had observed that the report was an "eye-wash" and that the case needed to be re-investigated.

These observations came from the Bench after counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Sunil Fernandes, pointed out that there has been no progress in the investigation since February this year. All the points presented by the State before the Rajasthan High Court have been regurgitated now before the Supreme Court, Fernandes added.

The Court, after assessing the report, opined that the investigation was surely falling short and that a fresh probe may be required.

Senior Advocate Manish Singhvi, appearing for the State of Rajasthan, argued that despite the investigation, there was no suspicious angle found in the death of the student. However, he submitted that the State will re-investigate the case should the Court direct it to do so, and can place reports of such re-investigation after two months.

Two months ago, the Supreme Court had directed the Rajasthan Police to complete its probe into the death of the NLU Jodhpur student that took place in 2017.

The Court had also pulled up the state police for not having finished the investigation despite an order from the Rajasthan High Court to this effect passed in February this year.

The student was found dead on railway tracks near the University on August 14, 2017. He had reportedly gone out with this friends to an establishment near the campus on a Sunday evening. While his friends returned to the campus, he told them that he would come later. When he was contacted later that night, he assured his friends that he would come back soon. His body was discovered the next morning.

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Neetu Nagaich vs Rajasthan - Judgment.pdf
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