Two social activists, accused of disrupting court proceedings in Bihar's Araria during the hearing of a gangrape case last month, should immediately be released from jail, the Supreme Court said today. The court has also issued notice to the Bihar government, asking why the police case against them should not be cancelled.
"It is totally impermissible order by which they were sent to custody," said the three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, which was hearing the petition from the two women.
Kalyani Badola and Tanvi Nair were assisting the rape survivor when she had to record her statement before the magistrate on July 10. But the 22-year-old survivor could not understand proceedings before the magistrate and was anguished.
The woman, who was allegedly gangraped on 6 July, had said she wanted the activists to take a look at all the papers before she signed them.
The magistrate took the two activists' intervention as disruption of the proceedings and sent all three to jail. Rules say no one can accompany a rape survivor when she records her statement before a magistrate.
A First Information Report was lodged later against the three, charging them with contempt of court. Later, the gangrape survivor was granted bail, but the two others remained in jail.
The two then moved the top court, seeking immediate release.
Representing the women, senior advocate Vrinda Grover told the top court that her clients had to approach Supreme Court as the Patna High Court is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her clients, she said, have been in jail since July 10.
She wanted the top court to release them and order a cancellation of the the FIR.