The Supreme Court upheld the Tamil Nadu High Court's decision to transfer the Lavanya suicide case to the CBI.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered an FIR in the Lavanya suicide case on Tuesday (February 15). In a judgment delivered on Monday (February 14), the Supreme Court upheld the Tamil Nadu High Court's decision to transfer the case to the CBI for investigation.
The Madurai bench of the Tamil Nadu High Court had transferred the case to the CBI, which was challenged by The Tamil Nadu Government in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered the Tamil Nadu Government to hand over all the case related papers to the CBI.
Lavanya, a 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur, was forced to commit suicide for her refusal to convert to Christianity. She had consumed poison on January 9 and struggled for her life in a hospital for 10 days before succumbing on January 19.
In her dying declaration, Lavanya had said that there was pressure on her to convert to Christianity. She was tortured after she refused to convert.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) investigation revealed that the hostel Lavanya was put up in the premises of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, which is named St. Michael Home for Children and is registered as an orphanage.
The orphanage has also got funding from the Vatican, and its registration had expired in November last year.
A three-member team of the NCPCR, led by Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, visited Tamil Nadu on January 31 to investigate the case.
A video statement of Lavanya, recorded on the hospital bed, had gone viral. In the video statement, Lavanya could be heard talking about the pressure to convert. In her dying declaration to the magistrate, Lavanya had named hostel warden Sagaya Mary and others of torturing her.
Unsatisfied with the Tamil Nadu Police investigation, Lavanya's parents had moved the Tamil Nadu High Court with the plea to transfer the case to the CBI.
Justifying the Lavanya's parents' apprehensions, the Madurai bench of the Tamil Nadu High Court had observed, "Instead of ordering the investigation officer to take the additional materials to account, the S.P directed the local police to register an FIR against the person who had taken the video…Superintendent of Police wanted to silence any discussion regarding the conversion angle. The S.P virtually threatened the person who shot the video. Instead, she should have goaded the investigation to take the religious angle into account."
Transferring the case to the CBI on January 31, the Madras High Court had said, "It is too early in the day for the police or the politicians to jump to conclusions. But they have done so. That is why, the petitioner is apprehensive that if the investigation remains with State police, he will not get justice. His apprehension is justified…I find merit in the petitioner's counsel's contention that the police, instead of finding out the truth of the allegations made by the deceased victim, have been trying to bolster the counter narrative."
On Monday (February 14), the Tamil Nadu police arrested the ABVP General Secretary Nidhi Tripathi in Chennai for staging a protest for justice for Lavanya.
In a shocking event on Monday (February 14), the Christian Goodwill Movement Head and DMK MLA Inigo Irudayaraj felicitated the hostel warden Sagaya Mary when she walked out of the Tiruchirapalli Central Prison after Thanjavur court granted her bail.