The High Court of Karnataka allowed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking reinvestigation of the Soujanya murder case to be withdrawn. The division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit allowed the petitioner to withdraw the case after it refused to order a reinvestigation of the case.
Soujanya, a 17-year old student from Ujire near Dharmasthala was kidnapped, raped and murdered on October 9, 2012.
The police had arrested Santhosh Rao two days later. On June 16 this year, the CBI court had acquitted Rao and ordered a probe against the officers who investigated the case for failing to collect proper evidence in the case.
The petition had prayed for a direction to conduct a fresh or de-novo (anew) investigation or re-investigation monitored by the High Court through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any other premier independent investigation agency or by forming a special investigation team (SIT).
The public interest litigation was filed by Girish Bharadwaj, a resident of Bengaluru, Naveen Kumar G, a resident of Dakshina Kannada and Vinayaka Friends Charitable Trust, Puttur.
The HC, however, observed that it was for the State, original complainants or the victim's family to seek a reinvestigation. It also pointed out that the law provides for an appeal in which the lapses of investigation can be raised. The Court also suggested that the present petitioners could help the victim's family to file an appeal. The PIL was disposed of with the petitioners withdrawing it.
The petition had also sought appropriate action against erring officials in the earlier round of litigation in view of the observations made by the trial court in the case. The petition also sought guidelines to be issued by the HC with regard to the investigation during the golden hours after the crime in cases like murder and rape.
-With PTI Input