Shahnawaz Hussain rape case: Supreme Court orders stay on proceedings, permits complainant to seek police protection
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a stay on proceedings against BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain in an alleged rape case of 2018, as well as the Delhi High Court order, directing to lodge an FIR against him.
A Bench comprising Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the complainant, who was allegedly threatened and thrashed on the behest of the accused, to seek police protection.
Appearing for Hussain, Senior Advocates Siddharth Luthra and Mukul Rohatgi contended that the High Court had said the minimum requirement was lodging of an FIR, which was an erroneous interpretation of the law.
Advocate Sanjeev Kumar Singh, the Counsel of the victim, said ‘This victim was assaulted after the High Court order. The accused and the goons mercilessly beat up the prosecutrix and she is in Trauma centre. He is a powerful leader of BJP. Protection is needed for the victim.’
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, also representing Hussain, argued that the High Court said that probe can be only conducted after registration of an FIR.
He said, ‘The High Court order is an incorrect appreciation of the law. My client is a public figure. He made a complaint before. This lady made scandalising comments against the petitioner. He made a complaint to the police dated November 29, 2017 and after two months, she files a Section 156 (3) application.
‘Shahnawaz Hussain lives in Pandit Pant Marg in New Delhi. His brother and his wife live in Okhla.
‘It was alleged that the victim was raped by Shahnawaz’s brother in 2013 and then a complaint was made in 2018, four years later. Then, she says that she visited the residence of Shahnawaz and that he promised that his brother will marry her, since Islam allows four wives,’ added Rohatgi.
He said the substance of this was that she had physical relations with Shahnawaz’s brother since 2013, but nothing against the BJP leader.
Rohatgi said it was alleged that Hussain called the lady to a farm house in Chhattarpur, assuring that the matter will be sorted out with his brother. Then, it was stated that the victim fell unconscious and that Hussain took advantage of her. Further, the petition said that Hussain was a fraud man.
Justice Ravindra Bhat asked Rohatgi, ‘Are you denying the call conversations?’
Rohatgi replied, ‘CDR is a scientific evidence.’
Justice Bhat said, ‘No, it is not scientific. It only shows the distance of the number.’
Justice Lalit said, ‘What happened after this order? As per the status report, the offence is not made out.’
Luthra replied, ‘It is seen that the complainant was at a different place from what she was stating.’
Justice Bhat said, ‘These are all locational analysis and this is not probate.’
The bench then told Advocate Singh, appearing for the victim, ‘We are prima facie convinced that this matter requires consideration. If you want to file a response, you can file it. We can issue notice and stay all proceedings meanwhile. If you wish to argue everything today, we will dispose it off today.’
Advocate Singh said, ‘I can file a reply, but there is no need for stay in this case. The victim has been assaulted after the High Court order.’
The bench assured Singh of rendering ‘all possible help and protection’ and issued notice in the case, returnable in September third week.
It directed Advocate Singh, who represented the complainant in lower courts also, to file a vakalatnama. The top court of the country gave liberty to Singh to file a reply in two weeks.