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SC notices to UP govt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought a response from the Uttar Pradesh government and the CBI on a plea for a judicial probe into the alleged rape of a Dalit girl by Banda legislator Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha issued notices on a public interest lawsuit filed by advocate Raja Ram, who has sought an independent judicial probe into the incident, involving the BSP legislator and his aides.

While apprising the bench of his petition, the advocate also asserted that the authorities had committed a grave error by foisting false cases against the victim, who was a minor and was entitled to protection under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

In his petition filed early this week, the advocate had also alleged that the magistrate, in violation of the JJ Act, had sent her to jail, while she should have been sent to a juvenile care centre.

"A magistrate is not empowered under the Act to try the case of a juvenile. The magistrate, who had the theft case filed against the juvenile, had to follow the Act regarding grant of bail of juvenile," the petitioner had said.

The petitioner alleged the police and judicial officers were trying to protect the MLA.

"Initiate enquiry as to how the local police and the judiciary remanded an alleged juvenile in conflict with law to jail instead of producing her before the competent authority as per the Juvenile Justice Act," the petition said.

The 17-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by Dwivedi in Banda on December 10 and 11. The girl had escaped from his residence on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her again.

The girl, however, was arrested in connection with an allegedly false case of theft lodged by the legislator`s brother against her.

48-year-old Dwivedi was later arrested from Banda. The apex court had on January 17 agreed to consider a plea for a judicial enquiry into the alleged rape case.

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