The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to file an affidavit about the progress in the trial of the Hathras gangrape and murder case, Bar and Bench reported.

A Dalit woman was gangraped and killed by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14, 2020. The district authorities had secretly cremated the 19-year-old’s body around 3 am on September 30, without the consent of her family, who alleged they were locked up in their home by the police during the cremation.

The High Court took suo motu cognisance of the case in October 2020 after it triggered nationwideoutrage and protests.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the Uttar Pradesh government informed a bench comprising Justices Rajan Roy and Jaspreet Singh that the state was in the final stage of preparing a standard operating procedure for the dignified cremation of bodies.

The judges posted the matter for further hearing on September 20.

On August 5, the High Court had asked the state government to widely publicise the SOP in places such as police stations, hospitals, primary health centers and district headquarters to ensure officials are aware of the rules.

“The right of dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is not only available to a living person but also to the dead,” the judges had observed. “Even a dead person has the right of treatment of his body with respect and dignity which he would have deserved had he been alive, subject to his tradition, culture and religion which he professed.”

On July 27, the High Court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to consider providing employment to a family member of the Dalit woman.

The court had also ordered the authorities to relocate the family outside of Hathras within the next six months, noting that it was difficult for the family to lead a normal life in the village after the gangrape.

“We do not feel safe here,” the woman’s family had told Newslaundry in August 2021. “The [upper-caste] Thakurs are very angry with us.”