The Supreme Court has issued an interim order to conduct an impartial and effective investigation into the incident of alleged caste-based discrimination and untouchability perpetuated against Rupa Sunar within 25 days.
Sunar had lodged a police complaint against Saraswati Pradhan, a house owner at Babarmahal, on June 17 alleging that Pradhan had denied to rent her house to Sunar upon learning her caste.
Similarly, she filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court on July 5 demanding sacking of the then Education, Science and Technology Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha as well as action against him for perpetuating caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
On June 20, Pradhan was arrested and held in judicial custody for three days for investigation into the case.
Police released Pradhan on the third day of her arrest and Minister Shrestha had reached the police station to escort Pradhan to her house.
A joint bench of Justices Prakash Man Singh Raut and Nahakul Subedi on Thursday directed the District Public Prosecutor’s Office, Kathmandu and the Police Circle, Singha Durbar to register a complaint filed by Rupa Sunar against Minister Shrestha and conduct an impartial and effective investigation into the case.
The Singha Durbar Police Circle and the District Public Prosecutor’s Office had refused to file Sunar’s complaint against Shrestha.
The apex court’s order also instructed authorities concerned to inform Sunar about the details regarding the decision to release Pradhan from judicial custody.
Sunar had mentioned in her writ that police had pressurized her into handing over her mobile phone. The Supreme Court ruled that the audio recorded in Sunar’s phone – the conversation between her and Pradhan – can be used as evidence for investigation.
“However, the authorities must respect Sunar’s right to privacy, should involve an IT expert either from the Information Technology Division of this court or as chosen by Sunar while investigating her phone, and must not access any other data beyond the recorded conversation,” the court’s order said.
The court has also ordered Nepal Police to keep Sunar’s safety as well as security in mind while investigating the case.