Supreme Court on Friday said the woman law student, who had gone missing after levelling harassment allegations against former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand and found in Rajasthan, will be kept in the national capital under full security. The woman was produced before the apex court judges who said she has expressed desire not to go to her home state, Uttar Pradesh.
The apex court, which directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to produce the woman before it when they were on way to Sahajahanpur from Rajasthan, had an "in-camera" interaction with her.
Later, a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, which assembled at 7.35 PM to hear the matter, said in open court hearing that the woman had left Uttar Pradesh with her three college mates in "order to protect herself".
The apex court said that she does not "intend to go back to UP till she meets her parents in Delhi" and it is concerned about the safety and security of the woman.
It directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to depute a police team to safely bring her parents from Sahajahanpur to Delhi by Saturday "at the earliest".
The bench however made it clear that it would not permit the lawyers and anyone else other than her parents to meet her at this stage.
'She left Shahjahanpur to protect herself'
The top court directed its registry to ensure that her stay at All India Woman Conference, a shelter home which is used by the Delhi Legal Services Authority for stay of such victims, is "safe and comfortable".
"We have spoken to the woman. She was very responsive to the questions. She was able to understand English but she answered most of the questions in Hindi. She has stated that she had left Shahjahanpur along with her three college mates, who are also her family friends, in order to protect herself," the bench noted in its order.
"She has stated that she do not intend to go back to UP unless she meet her parents in Delhi and talk to them. She said that after meeting and talking to her parents, she will take decision on her future course of action," the bench said.
Court asks police to protect student's parent
It directed the Delhi Police team, which would accompany her parents, to provide them security till further orders of the top court.
The bench further said that the shelter home where she would stay would provide landline phone to enable her to talk to her parents.
"We are concerned about her safety and comfort. Let her relax first and let her parents come to Delhi. We will not allow the lawyers to meet her now," it said.
Advocate Shobha, who was appointed as an amicus curiae, said that she had talked to her parents and they want to have a conversation with their daughter.
Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, said the woman was "not an accused and she is free to make call to her parents or anybody else".
"We are bothered about her safety, protection and she can stay wherever she will feel comfortable," he told the bench.
Banerjee also said there was no allegation that UP Police would not conduct fair investigation in the case.
The bench said that for bringing her parents to Delhi, the court will ask Delhi Police to make the arrangements. "We are not saying anything about UP Police. We are not expressing any opinion. We are on the issue of safety of the woman."
When the bench dictated in its order that Delhi Police team would bring her parents here, Banerjee said, "This should not be said. The UP Police will do this. It will be unfair and will reflect badly on UP Police."
However, the bench brushed aside his submission and said that Delhi Police will ensure safe travel of her parents to Delhi.
Matter to be heard again on September 2
After the hearing was over at around 8.02 PM, Shobha thanked the court and said they were "very sorry" that the bench had to assemble again after the normal court hours.
"Do not say sorry. It is our duty," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on September 2.
When the matter came up for hearing at around 1 PM, advocate Shobha, appearing for the group of lawyers who had written a letter to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi urging him to take cognisance of the matter, said that as per media reports the woman has been found in Rajasthan.
Chinamayanand's lawyer alleges conspiracy
The proceeding also witnessed a bit of drama as advocate A P Singh, who claimed that he is appearing for Chinmayanand, told the bench that Director General of UP Police has confirmed that the woman has been found in Rajasthan and there was a "big conspiracy" against Chinmayanand.
Shobha questioned Singh's appearance in the case saying, "why somebody for Swami Chinmayanand needs to appear in a suo motu matter".
"She (the woman) has levelled allegations against Swami Chinmayanand. She, in her live video on Facebook, says that he has ruined life of several girls. She has not taken his (Chinmayanand) name in the video," Shobha said, adding that since August 24 the woman was missing.
"Where is she now," the bench asked the state's counsel, adding, "Where is her exact location now? Find out. You can contact the concerned Superintendent of Police".
"Find out where is her exact location and at what time she can be produced before the court," the bench told the state's counsel.
At around 1.30 PM, the state's counsel told the court that she had talked to the authorities and the woman, accompanied by a police team, were at Fatehpur Sikri while on their way to Sahajahanpur.