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Chinmayanand case: SC orders transfer of Shahjahanpur student, brother to other law college

twitter-logoPTI | September 4, 2019 | Updated 19:11 IST

(Eds: Adding details from order, hearing) New Delhi, Sep 4 (PTI) The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered transfer of the Shahjahanpur law student, who has levelled harassment allegations against former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, and her brother to other law colleges affiliated to Bareilly university saying, "for us their future is important". The top court, which disposed of the suo motu petition, said that it had taken cognizance of the matter when the woman went missing but as she has been traced now, nothing much survives in the issue. It also rejected the plea of group of lawyers that judges should meet the woman one more time. "We do not want to meet anyone. Just ask her to tell Allahabad High Court or SIT, whatever she wants to say." A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna was told by the Uttar Pradesh government that in compliance with the apex court's earlier order they have made all arrangements for transfer of the woman and her brother from SS Law College to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand (MJPR) University, Bareilly and Shreeji Institute of Legal and Vocational Studies (SILVS), respectively. Additional Solicitor General Vikramjeet Banerjee, appearing for the UP government stated that SILVS, Bareilly, does not have any hostel but they have made arrangement for the accommodation of the woman's brother in the hostel attached to the University, where both of them will stay till they complete their courses. He said that whatever fees and other incidental charges that have been paid by the woman and her brother in their respective Colleges will be adjusted against the fee payable in the University/College to which they are to be transferred. The top court said it listed the matter for today to see that their studies and future are not affected. The bench, while disposing of the matter said, "This is the benevolence shown by the state government. She has got best of the institution. Education is very important for her. Ask her to join the institution and study. It is only with education that people can grow in this country". It also requested the Bar Council of India (BCI) to increase the seats of the colleges in which the woman and her brother will be shifted for LLM and LLB courses respectively. "In the interest of justice and peculiar facts and circumstances, we request the BCI to pass appropriate orders to increase the sanctioned strength of seats by one as an exceptional case in the MJPR University, for LLM course and SILVS, Bareilly, for LLB course, at the earliest," it said. The top court gave four weeks to the woman and her brother to make an application for admission in the concerned educational institutions with a copy marked to the Registrar of the MJPR University and SILVS. It further said that the woman and her parents are at liberty to go home in Shahjahanpur accompanied by Delhi Police and if any further direction, including with regard to the safety and security, is required, then they can approach the Allahabad High Court. The court, which had earlier interacted in-chamber with the woman, had said that she told the judges that she didn't want to continue her study in the college run by Chinmayanand's ashram at Shahjahanpur. The top court on Monday directed the UP government to set up an SIT, headed by an IG-rank officer, to investigate the charges levelled by the woman, as well as the two related FIRs. The apex court had also requested the Chief Justice of High Court to constitute a special bench to monitor the investigation in the two cross FIRs filed in the case -- one by the woman's father and another by the institution where she was studying. After interacting in-chamber with the woman and her parents, the court had issued a slew of directions, including asking the state to provide police protection to the family and explore the possibility of admitting the woman and her brother in another college at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. The woman had gone missing after levelling allegations against Chinmayanand in a video and was later found in Rajasthan by UP police. On August 30, she was produced before the apex court judges who said she has expressed desire not to go to her home state, Uttar Pradesh. The top court judges had on Friday also interacted with the woman who had told them that she had left Uttar Pradesh with her three college mates in "order to protect herself". The apex court had taken suo motu cognizance of the case after a group of lawyers had written a letter to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi urging him to take up the matter. The Shahjahanpur police had on August 27 lodged an FIR against Chinmayanand after the student went missing following her allegation in a video clip that he had been harassing her. She also spoke about threat to her and her family's life in the video clip. Her father had filed a complaint with police accusing Chinmayanand of sexually harassing her, a charge refuted by the BJP leader's lawyer who claimed it was a "conspiracy" to blackmail him. The woman's father had alleged that she went missing at the behest of the 72-year-old BJP leader, who heads Mumukshu ashram. She is a post-graduate student in one of the colleges run by the ashram. PTI MNL SA

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