Press Note:

Jaipur, 6th August, 2004
Rajasthan High Court Accepts Sati Writ Petitions: Issues Notices

The Rajasthan High Court bench of Justices SK Keshote and AC Goyal of today admitted four public interest writ petitions relating to the 1987 cases of Glorification of Sati filed by women and social organisations of Rajasthan. The court also issued notices to the accused which include Rajendra Singh Rathore, minister of PWD in the present Government, Narendra Singh Rathore, President of the Rajput Maha Sabha, Pratap Singh Kachriyawas nephew of the VP of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and thirteen others along with the Rajasthan Government.

On the 31st of January after 16 years the Special Sati court Additional District Judge Shiv Singh Chauhan had acquitted all the accused in four out of twenty two cases that were under going trial in the Sati glorification matters that were filed after the immolation of Roop Kanwar of Deorala in 1987. After the acquittal the Government of Rajasthan did not file an appeal in the High Court which is the normal course in criminal cases. Women's groups raised their voice and tried to put pressure on the Government but it refused to go in for appeal. After the limitation period of appeal had lapsed women's groups were left with no other course but to file writ petitions and ask the High Court to intervene.

In the four writ petitions the women's groups have prayed that the court
a) By an appropriate writ/order or directions quash and set aside the judgment of acquittal passed by the learned trial court on 31/01/2004 in the four cases
b) By an appropriate order or directions order retrial of the case and;
c) By an appropriate order or directions direct the state government to appoint special prosecutor in consultation with the petitioners and;
d) By an appropriate writ order or directions direct the state government to take action against the officials and police personnel who either turned hostile or retracted their earlier statements and thus committed gross abuse of the process of law.

The 12 petitioner organisations are : All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Women's Rehabilitation Group (WRG), Rajasthan University Women's Association (RUWA), National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Vividha: Womenís Documentation and Resource Center, National Muslim Women's Welfare Society (NMWS), Women's Cell, All India State Employees Federation, All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), Vishakha: Women's Education and Resource Group (VWERG), Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Rajasthan (BGVS), Academy of Socio Legal Studies, Jaipur (ASLS), Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan (PUCL).

The lawyers for the case were Prem Krishna Sharma and Snehlata.

Kavita Srivastava, Laad kumari Jain, Nisha Sidhu, Manju Sharma, Mamta Jaitly, Sumitra Chopra, Asha Kalra, Komal Srivastava, Bharat, Nishat Hussein, Mewa Bharti and others.

The respondents in each of the petitions are the Government of Rajasthan and the Special Sati court ADJ. The others are

Writ no 1
1. The State of Rajasthan through Mr. Surendra Kumar, Home Secretary Government of Rajasthan
2. Pratap Singh Kachariyawaas, s/o Laxman Singh Rajput, resident of 13, Civil Lines, Jaipur, presently residing in ----------------------
3. Anand Sharma, s/o Ram Kishore Brahmin, resident of 645, Kishore Punj, Kishanpole Bazaar, Jaipur.
4. Gopal Singh Rathore, s/o Bal Singh Rajput, 153, Saket Colony, Adarsh Nagar, Jaipur.
5. Special Judge (Sati Prevention Court) Rajasthan and Additional Sessions Judge (Jaipur City)
Writ No.2
2. Narendra Singh Rajawat son of Raghuvir Singh Rajput, house no. 15, shivaji marg, Diggi House, Jaipur.

3. Onkar Singh son of Dhool Singh Rajput, r/o 9 Gopalwari, Jaipur.
4. Anand Sharma son of Shri Ramkishore Sharma, r/o House No. 645 Kishore Kunj, Kishanpol Bajar, Jaipur.
5. Pratap Singh Khachariyawas son of Laxman Singh Rajput, r/o Khachariyawas, district Sikar, presently residing at -------------------
6. Ram Singh Manohar, Advocate son of Sawaisingh Rajput, resident of B-42 Jyoti Marg, Bapu Nagar, Jaipur.
7. Rajendra Singh Rathore son of Uttam Singh Rajput, resident of Sardarsahar, district Churu, presently residing at ----------------------------------
Writ No.3
2. Jai Mal Singh Yadav s/o Mool Chand Yadav, age 48 years resident of village Mohanpura.
3. Rajendra Singh s/o Uttam Singh Rajput, age 48 years, resident of Harpalsar, PS Sardar Shahar, Churu.
4. Bajrang Singh s/o Shrimal Singh Rajput, age? Resident of village of Mamda Kala, police station Neem-ka-thana, Sikar.
Writ No. 8
The State of Rajasthan through Mr. Surendra Kumar, Home Secretary Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur
2. Bajrang Singh s/o Shrimal Singh Rajput, age? Resident of village Mamda Kala, police station Neem-ka-thana, Sikar.
3. Sumer Singh s/o Jagpal Singh Rajput, age 50, resident of village Dabla, tehsil Neem-ka-thana, District Sikar.
4. Prahalad Singh s/o Guman Singh, age 44 years, resident of Mahava, Neem-ka-thana, District Sikar
5. Rajendra Singh, s/o Uttam Singh Rajput, age 46 years, resident of Sardarshahar, District Churu, at present residing in Bungalow no: Civil Lines, Jaipur

[See Related Material:
Justice immolated by Kavita Srivastava [The Nation (Bangladesh) Jun 30, 2004]
For women fighting for their rights in the feudal state of Rajasthan, the clock has been set back by 16 years. Hundreds of women marched the streets of Jaipur on March 3, 2004, protesting against the decision of the Special Court on Sati Prevention cum Sessions Court. The decision amounts to a miscarriage of justice and the glorification of the practice of sati (widow immolation). FULL TEXT ]

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