The Supreme Court will on Tuesday consider a public interest litigation seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation or a Special Investigation Team inquiry monitored by sitting or retired judges into the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district, Live Law reported.

The PIL will be taken up by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. Social activist Satyama Dubey has filed the plea.

Dubey said in his petition that the Uttar Pradesh Police had failed in their duties and are were protecting the accused, who belong to the upper-caste Thakur community. The petitioner also cited reports of the woman’s family being victimised by members of the upper-caste.

The petitioner demanded that the SIT’s handling of the case must be overseen by sitting or retired judges of the the Supreme Court or high court. He also requested the court to transfer the case to Delhi for speedy trial.

Two other PILs related to the case have also been filed in the top court. One of the petitions has been filed by a retired judicial officer against the woman’s hurried cremation by the UP Police last week. The second petition, filed by two lawyers, sought strict implementation of laws to stop crimes against women.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, who is facing continued criticism over the law and order situation in the state, had on Saturday ordered a CBI inquiry in the case. The woman’s family had demanded a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry, saying the state’s SIT was “hand in glove” with the accused.

The case

On September 14, four upper-caste Thakur men had tortured and raped the Dalit woman. She died on September 29, a day after being moved to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. She had suffered multiple fractures and other serious injuries, and was left paralysed. The four men have been arrested. However, the woman was hastily cremated by the police against her family’s consent. This has led to outrage and protests across the country.

The Uttar Pradesh administration has consistently denied that the woman was raped, based on a report from the forensic lab that had said there were no traces of sperm in samples taken from her. However, the chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College – where the woman was admitted – said the forensic lab’s report “holds no value” as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the crime was committed.

Experts have also pointed out that since the samples for the test were collected many days after the crime was committed, sperm would not be present. The autopsy report of the woman had showed that she was strangled and suffered a cervical spine injury. The final diagnosis did not mention rape, but had pointed out that there were tears in her genitalia and there had been “use of force”.