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The Supreme Court has directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to produce before it today the LLM student who had gone missing from Shahjahanpur, after her allegations of sexual harassment against former Union Minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand surfaced online. The Court also directed the Registrar Judicial to make internal arrangements to facilitate her production in camera.
This order was passed today after the Court was informed that the LLM student who had gone missing on August 24 has been located in Rajasthan. The Court said that after it interacts with the girl, it will reassemble to pass further orders.
The LLM student from the Swami Shukdevanand Law College (SS Law College) in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh had posted videos online leveling allegations of sexual harassment against Swami Chinmayanand. The student went missing three days after the allegations were made.
The Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the incident after a group of lawyers had written a letter to the Court urging for the same. The matter was mentioned before the Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana on Wednesday.
When the suo motu case was taken up for hearing today by the Bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, the Court was informed by Advocate Shobha Gupta that the girl had been located in Rajasthan according to a statement released by the UP Police. She was being taken back to her home in Shahjahanpur from Rajasthan, the UP Police has claimed.
Gupta, however, requested the Court to seek production of the girl before the Court to ensure of her well being as well as inspect if she is facing any threat. Ina video posted by her on Facebook, the LLM student had claimed that she had evidence against BJP Leader Swami Chinmayanand and that her life as well as that of her family’s was under threat.
Therefore, despite statements of the Police, Gupta urged the Court to seek a status report as well production of the girl before the Court itself where the Bench may interact with her in camera.
Advocate AP Singh, who was also present in the Court, claimed to represent Swami Chinmayanand and argued that a conspiracy was being hatched against theformer Union Minister.
The Court then directed the Counsel representing the State of UP to find out the details relating to the exact location of the girl and the time it would take to produce her before the Court. The counsel for UP told the Court subsequently that the girl was enroute Shahjahanpur and was near Fatehpur Sikri. She was accompanied by a friend and police personnel.
The letter written by the lawyers had highlighted that while the Court has interfered in matters concerning human rights before, a suo motu cognisance of this incident is pertinent lest there be another instance like the Unnao case.
“…we as a society cannot allow another Unnao case to happen. This Hon’ble Court has been interfering in letter petitions when it comes to protection of human rights“, the letter stated.
When the matter was mentioned on Wednesday, the Court was initially reluctant to entertain the plea, and asked the lawyers to approach the concerned High Court. However, the Bench later directed the lawyers to hand over the letter, assuring them that the Court will look into it.