Supreme Court rejects plea for CBI probe into nun’s rape

October 22nd, 2008 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday rejected the Cuttack archbishop’s plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the rape of a nun in Orissa’s Kandhamal district.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan also asked the Orissa government to be “generous enough” and take steps to rebuild the damaged churches in the state despite the policy of secularism preventing governments from giving any compensation to any place of worship.

Kandhamal district has witnessed communal violence, especially attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and four of his aides.

In the “interest of justice” as well as in “her own interest”, the bench also asked the victim to cooperate with the state’s Crime Branch, which is probing the case, in identifying the accused during the test identification parade.

The bench, which included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal, rejected Archbishop Raphel Cheenath’s plea for a CBI probe saying that the state police have already arrested nine accused.

Opposing the archbishop’s demand for a compensation of Rs.30 million to rebuild around 16 damaged churches in Kandhamal, the state government had said in its affidavit that “according monetary compensation to any religious institution is against the secular policy of the Government of Orissa”.

Orissa government counsel K.K. Venugopal, however, expressed government’s willingness to help rebuild the damaged churches in the state but only under court’s order, or “even a suggestion” to that effect.

Accordingly, the bench said: “The state will take a generous view of the matter, will identify the damaged churches, assess the extent of the damage and take steps towards rebuilding them.”

It also asked the state government to initiate dialogue between the opposing communities in order to ensure their peaceful existence in the state.

It also asked the state government to “set up fast-track courts” to decide the cases of communal violence. It also asked the central government to keep the paramilitary forces in the state till December.

The court adjourned the matter for next hearing to the first week in January.

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