TN suicide case: Supreme Court refuses to stay CBI probe
The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Police against a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the suicide of a 17-year-old schoolgirl. On Monday, the top court issued notices on the plea. It, however, allowed the CBI investigation to go on as per a Madras High Court order.
Why does this story matter?
A school student in Thanjavur, had consumed insecticide on January 9 and died at a medical facility 10 days later. In a viral video, the girl said the school had tried to convert her. She also told police she was forced by the hostel warden to clean rooms and toilets on the campus. The incident triggered protests by right-wing Hindu groups across the country.
What did the SC say?
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M Trivedi said, "Issue notice returnable in four weeks. Counter affidavit two weeks and rejoinder if any within two weeks." "Let the CBI probe go on. It might not be appropriate for us to interject in the investigation of CBI. Please pass on evidence collected to CBI," the judges added.
TN DGP had filed the plea
The petition in the Supreme Court had been filed by the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP). Meanwhile, senior advocate P Wilson, appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, said the Madras High Court bench had "overstepped" its jurisdiction by ordering the CBI probe as its jurisdiction is limited to the state police's investigation.
Madras HC ordered CBI inquiry in January
On January 31, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had passed an order transferring the case to the CBI. A team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had also reached Thanjavur to conduct an inquiry. Meanwhile, the hostel warden named by the deceased remains under arrest. The school authorities, however, have rejected all allegations pertaining to religious conversion.
Political leaders play blame game
The case has taken a political turn with leaders exchanging blame. "Will DMK Govt. apologise to all of us for their manufactured outright lies?" BJP leader K Annamalai tweeted after SC's ruling. DMK's Kanimozhi, on the other hand, has accused the BJP of creating communal tension in Tamil Nadu. "It is very sad that they are using a child's death in such a way."