SC pulls up Gujarat govt for not filing reply in murder case of Dalit youth

SC pulled up Gujarat govt for not filing its reply on an appeal challenging the bail granted to an accused in the murder case, where a Dalit youth was allegedly beaten to death in a factory compound

Supreme Court of India 
Supreme Court of India


The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up Gujarat government for not filing its reply on an appeal challenging the bail granted to an accused in the murder case, where a Dalit youth was allegedly beaten to death in a factory compound near Rajkot.

The top court gave one last opportunity to the state government to file its reply on the appeal in which notice was issued on November 18, last year.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah said, counsel for the State prays for and is granted one week time, as a last opportunity, to file counter affidavit .

The bench posted the matter for further hearing after a week.

During the hearing conducted through video conferencing, Justice Shah asked counsel appearing for Gujarat government as to why the state has not filed its counter affidavit on the appeal against the last year's High Court order granting bail.

Justice Shah told the counsel as to why the state is not filing affidavits even in some other matters.

Why are you not filing the affidavits? This will not be tolerated. Notice was issued in this matter last year. Even during the last hearing, the state was granted the opportunity to file a counter affidavit. Why is this happening and even in other no affidavits are being filed, the bench said.

Counsel appearing for the state said she needs some time to file the counter affidavit as the advocate concerned has been infected with COVID due to which they are unable to file affidavits.

At the outset, senior advocate Collin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, said that the youth was tied to a pole and beaten up and a medical report stated that he had 24 grievous injury marks.

The High Court had on February 4, 2019 granted bail to accused Tejas Kanubhai Zala in the case on the ground that there was weak evidence against the accused.

Tejas and 4 others allegedly brutally assaulted a 35-year-old Dalit ragpicker Mukesh Vaniya with a pipe and a belt taken out from a machine and continued assaulting until he died on the spot at the factory.

On May 21, 2018, the five accused, including the owner of Radadiya Industries where the incident allegedly took place, were arrested under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act and sections of the IPC relating to murder, assaulting a woman and wrongful confinement.

A video of the incident -- purportedly showing two people taking turns to beat Vaniya with a stick while another person holds him by a rope tied to his waist -- was circulated widely on social media.

The arrests followed Vaniya's wife Jayaben's police complaint after the victim died while being taken to the government hospital in Rajkot.

"A man who used to collect garbage was beaten up by some people at the Radadiya Industries compound near Shapar town. The factory owner accused him and his wife of theft," police had said.

The five arrested are Jaysukh Radadiya, owner of the factory, and his four friends, Chirag Patel, Divyesh Patel, Jaysukh Radadiya and Tejas Kanubhai Zala.

An FIR was registered under sections 302 (murder), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assaulting a woman to outrage her modesty) of the IPC and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act.

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