Taking note of a plea of the father of the Bulandshahr gangrape victim that the probe and trial in the case be shifted out of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the state government and its minister Azam Khan in the matter.
A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan also took note of the alleged controversial statement of the state's Urban Development Minister Khan that the incident was a "political conspiracy", as the plea sought registration of an FIR against him.
It also appointed jurist and senior lawyer F.S. Nariman as amicus curiae in the matter which will now be taken up after three weeks.
The court framed several constitutional questions including whether a person, holding public office, can give a statement which may create "distrust" in the minds of the victims about a fair probe in the case and whether such a statement can be a part of freedom of speech and expression.
The man, whose wife and daughter were gangraped last month on a highway in Bulandshahr, had on August 13 moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case to Delhi, besides lodging of an FIR against Khan as well as several policemen.
The brutal incident had happened on the night of July 29 when a group of highway robbers stopped the car of a Noida-based family and sexually assaulted the woman and her daughter after dragging them out of the vehicle which had four other occupants.
The Allahabad High Court had ordered CBI probe into the incident besides deciding to monitor the investigation.
In the plea filed in the apex court through lawyer Kislay Pandey, the victim's father sought an order for transferring the trial of the case to Delhi "in the interest of justice".
Unhappy with the UP police, the petitioner said the probe should be conducted by "some other competent agency".
Referring to Khan's alleged controversial remark that there was a "political conspiracy" in gangrape, the plea said an FIR be registered against him as his statement "substantially outrages" the "modesty" of the victims and their family.
The plea sought "appropriate damages" for the victims besides a direction that the state and others, including the DGP, be stopped from infringing on the fundamental right to life of the victims.
"Direct the respondents (State Home Secretary, Khan, DGP and SSP of Bulandshahr) to pay the appropriate damages to the petitioner as per law," the plea said.
The plea alleged that the police did not come for help despite the victims making several distress calls on the helpline number.
"The victim dialed 100 number after the incident to seek help from police but it did not help at all," it said, adding "direct registration of an FIR against erring police officials for disobeying directions of law in the present case."
The plea said, "Azam Khan called a press conference and publicly insulted petitioner by terming the entire incident as a political conspiracy only and nothing else and thereby caused various acts and deeds being substantially outrageous to the modesty of the petitioner."
It said that six members of the family were travelling from Noida to Shahjahanpur on national highway-91 when they were waylaid, assaulted and robbed.
The offenders, who were hiding behind the bushes, emerged and took the family at gunpoint and forced the father of the victim to take the vehicle off the road, it said.
The mother-daughter duo were attacked barely 100 meters away from the police post, it said, adding that the offenders snatched cash to the tune of Rs 36,000 and some jewellery from the victims.