Agartala: The High Court of Tripura ordered the state government to set up a three members special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the case of a 23-year-old woman who committed suicide after locals shamed her and assaulted her on suspicion of having an illicit relationship with a local trader.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice AA Kureshi and Justice Subhasish Talapatra was hearing the suo-motu public interest litigation (PIL) on Friday on account of ‘moral policing’ of a 23-year-old woman in the South Tripura district of Tripura who allegedly died by suicide.

The division bench observed that while this public interest petition was being heard, another sad development took place, when the woman’s husband also committed suicide.

“For the death of the young lady, the police have registered an F.I.R. for offences punishable under Sections 306, 323 and 354 read with Section 120B of Indian Penal Code. Investigation was partly carried out by the I.O. under the supervision of the Superintendent of Police of the district,” the Court observed.

The Court also said that investigation papers were made available to the Court, but not made public since the investigation was in progress.

Upon perusal of the investigation carried out so far, the Court had served noticed several deficiencies. The Court discussed with the advocate general the feasibility of constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to carry out further investigation, to which he had agreed on the spot. Later, under specific instructions from the home department, he had stated that the state administration would be open to any order or direction that the Court may pass in this respect.

“Under the circumstances, in order not to prejudice the ongoing investigation and also the defence of the accused, we do not state our elaborate reasons for handing over the entire investigation to the SIT. Accordingly, the following SIT is formed,” the Court said.

The three-member SIT will be headed by Lucky Chowhan, Commandant, central training institute, Gokulnagar, Soumya Debbarma, SDPO, Belonia and Babita Bhattacharjee, in-charge, Tripura Human Rights Commission.

“Needless to add, the State administration shall provide all necessary facilities and support to the members of the SIT. The SIT so formed shall carry out the investigation further and place before us the papers of investigation for our perusal on the next date of hearing,” the division bench directed.

The Court also clarified that the suicide case of the husband, which so far was registered as an unnatural death case, shall also form part of this investigation. The Court has fixed the next date of hearing on June 25.

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