J&K High court orders police to investigate rape of mentally-challenged woman

J&K High court orders police to investigate rape of mentally-challenged woman
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Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed police to conduct an investigation into the alleged rape of a mentally-challenged woman who gave birth in an open area in Kullen Ganderbal on November 20. The baby didn’t survive but with the help of some locals, the woman was rushed to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar, where she is being treated.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar ordered the police to conduct an impartial investigation and directed the victim’s father to produce the victim before the Medical Superintendent of Psychiatric Hospital Rainawari on December 8.

The Medical Superintendent was directed to constitute a Board of experts for the victim’s examination, for both her mental and physical health.

“The medical examination of the victim shall be completed within one week from the date of its commencement,” the court ordered.

The victim’s father told the court that his 32-year-old daughter was mentally unsound and he had no objection if her mental health was medically ascertained.

The court took on record the medical report of the victim submitted by Medical Superintendent of Lal Ded Hospital, Dr Shabir. The doctor informed the court that the patient had been discharged from the hospital in stable condition and handed over to her father.

The court directed the Secretary, District Legal Service Authority, to look into the matter from the perspective of compensation under the appropriate scheme, if any.

On the previous hearing, the court had taken suo motu cognisance of the alleged rape and abandonment of the woman. The court had directed the Registry to register the writ petition as a Public Interest Litigation over the issue of women in distress.

The court had observed that there was an urgent need of shelter homes for women in distress and had issued notice to Secretary, Social Welfare Department, to look into this matter.

The court had also called for response within two days from SSP Srinagar, SSP Ganderbal, SHO Nowhatta, SHO Budgam, SHO Kulan Ganderbal, and Medical Superintendent of Lal Ded Hospital.

The court had passed the order in view of media reports claiming that a mentally challenged women hailing from Budgam was raped some nine months ago by some local youths at Malkha area, which is in the vicinity of Makhdoom Sahab shrine.