The Delhi High Court has granted interim protection from "precipitate action" to the 2017 Unnao rape survivor in an FIR registered by the Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly forging her date of birth to attract provisions of the POCSO Act in the case in which the now expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar was convicted.
Sengar has since been disqualified as an MLA. Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani issued notice on the anticipatory bail plea by the 21-year-old and directed that subject to the petitioner appearing before the trial court when required, “no precipitate action affecting the petitioner's liberty shall be taken by the trial court, till the next date of hearing”.
The court, in a recent order, granted six weeks to the prosecution to file a status report and listed the case for further hearing on March 1. The FIR was registered by Makhi police station in Unnao on December 23, 2018 under sections 419/420/467/468/471 IPC for the alleged offence of cheating and forgery after the husband of an accused in the main rape case claimed the petitioner and her mother forged the date on the birth certificate so they could press the charge under the POCSO Act.
In her anticipatory bail plea, the petitioner said a charge-sheet has been filed but due to threat to her life, she could not appear in response to the summons and, consequently, non-bailable warrants were issued against her. The petitioner, represented by lawyers Mehmood Pracha and Jatin Bhatt, claimed while there is “absolutely nothing against her in the investigation”, she was apprehending arrest upon her appearance before the trial court here.
"There is no allegation of participation, conspiracy, or knowledge against the Petitioner, and has been included in the case solely as a measure of harassment at the behest of the erstwhile MLA," the plea alleged. Sengar's appeal challenging the trial court's verdict in the Unnao rape case is pending in the high court.
He has sought the quashing of the December 16, 2019 judgement of the trial court which convicted him of rape. Sengar has also sought setting aside of the December 20, 2019 order sentencing him to imprisonment for the remainder of his life. The trial court had convicted Sengar under various provisions including section 376 (2) of IPC which deals with the offence of rape committed by a public servant who "takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him".
It had awarded him the maximum punishment of life term with a rider that the convict will remain in jail for the "remainder of his natural biological life" and also imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 25 lakh on him. The girl was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was stated to be a minor. The trial, which started on August 5, 2019, after it was transferred from Unnao to Delhi on the Supreme Court's directions, was carried on a day-to-day basis.
The apex court, taking cognizance of the rape survivor's letter written to the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had on August 1, 2019 transferred all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to the court in Delhi with a direction to hold trial on a daily basis and complete it within 45 days.