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Victim was at least entitled to decent cremation: High Court on Hathras

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Lucknow, Oct 13: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government and said the cremation of the 20-year-old woman in Hathras by the state authorities "is prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family".

File photo

"The woman was "at least entitled to decent cremation in accordance with her religious customs and rituals, which essentially are to be performed by her family", the court observed.

The court said the larger issue which this incident raises impacts such rights of other residents of the entire state.

The court, referring to precedents, observed that the right to dignity and fair treatment enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution is not only available to a living person, but also to his/her body after death.

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"No one should indulge in character assassination of the victim just as the accused should not be pronounced guilty before a fair trial", the court observed.

The court also pulled up UP ADGP Prashant Kumar who had denied rape in the case citing the absence of semen in body, if he was aware of the amendments to the 2013 amendment to the criminal law.

The victim had died a fortnight after an alleged brutal assault, including gangrape, by four men of the village on September 14.

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    The woman had succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi hospital on September 29, following which the District Magistrate ordered cremation in the village in the dead of the night allegedly against the wishes of her family.

    The case was referred to the CBI by the state government after a political storm over the alleged apathy of the administration.

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