A Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy today, the 17 November 2016, asked the Uttar Pradesh Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan to file his affidavit stating unconditional apology within two weeks. This directions was given by the Supreme Court after Kapil Sibal, senior counsel, appearing for the Azam Khan submitted that if by any statement made by Azam Khan, the petitioner (who is father of the rape victim) has felt insulted or humiliated, he shall file an unconditional apology supported with an affidavit. It is pertinent to point out that Azam Khan had made certain objectionable comments about the Bulandshahr gang rape case, calling the gang rape as a “political conspiracy”. Full order of the court is reproduced below.
It is noteworthy that Azam Khan has been widely criticized for his insensitive comments about a serious crime taking place in the state, more so since he happens to hold a high public office of a minister in the state.
Noted senior lawyer, Fali S. Nariman, who was appointed Amicus Curiae in this case, submitted before the court that for the purpose of this case, unconditional apology may be accepted, but the questions framed by the Supreme Court vide order dated 29th August, 2016, and the deliberation made on 8th November, 2016, keeping in mind the notes submitted by him, should be debated and a decision be rendered by the court so that in future persons holding a public office or authority would be careful before making a statement in respect of a victim, especially a victim of rape or molestation. The Supreme Court accepted this suggestion observing that the questions framed by the Court have been of significance and are required to be debated, and requested the Attorney General for India Mukul Rohatgi to assist the Court.
This case will now be listed on 7 December 2016 for further hearing.
Read full order of the court: