March 15, 2019
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere in a petition by a woman from Arunachal Pradesh who accused Chief Minister Pema Khandu of raping her when she was a minor. An SC bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that it cannot interfere in an incident which happened in 2008.
The bench asked the victim to approach the high court for redressal of her grievances and police for protection. The woman reportedly approached the Supreme Court after the police and the Chief Judicial Magistrate allegedly declined to register a complaint against the three accused, including CM Pema Khandu.
In her petition, the accused said that she was 15 years old when she was raped by four men. The victim said that she was working as a Public Call Office in Arunachal Pradesh when a man lured her into meeting some people on the pretext of helping her get a government job. At the meeting, the victim said she was offered drinks laced with sedatives. While she was unconscious, she alleged, the four men raped her.
She had formally submitted a detailed report to the National Commission of Women (NCW) in March 2018.
“I have filed the complaint against three men, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu. Till now, I have not got a proper response from either the police or the court. Both are saying it is a case of fraud, which is untrue. If I don’t get justice here also, then victims suffering like me, will not believe anyone,” she had said.
She has accused Pema Khandu, Phurpa Lama Thumpeen Tashi, a teacher of the Tawang Higher Secondary School, and Dorjee Wangchu of gang raping her when she was in an intoxicated state at the Tawang Circuit House in July 2008.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, however, had categorically rejected the alleged rape charge, describing it as politically motivated and crafted by his opponents.
In a signed statement issued from his office on Saturday, Pema Khandu said, “I am shocked and saddened by these false allegations against me. I have always conducted myself honourably and with utmost integrity. In my view, these allegations are politically motivated and crafted by my opponents.”