The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere in Madras High Court’s order which handed over the probe to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of 17-year-old Lavanya. The Tamil Nadu government had challenged the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) order, a special leave petition was filed by the Tamil Nadu government through Director General of Police (DGP) challenging the transferring of the case from local police to the CBI.
The bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela Trivedi heard the petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government. The bench issued a notice on the appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu DGP challenging the Madras High Court order.
The Apex Court said that it might not be appropriate for it to interject in the investigation of the CBI but it will issue notice on the first aspect.
The Supreme Court also requested the government to not make the case a ‘prestigious issue’ and hand over all the papers to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court had transferred the Lavanya suicide case to the CBI on January 31,2022. The girl had committed suicide on January 19 after she was forced to convert by her warden. The girl had released a declaration, where she claimed that her missionary school had pressurised her to convert to Christianity and she was being harassed for refusing to convert.
The father of the girl demanded CBI probe into the case as the state government, media and police tried to suppress the conversion angle in the case. This forced the family of the girl to approach the high court.
The Madurai Bench of Madras High court observed that the investigation is not proceeding on the right lines and therefore ordered a CBI probe into the matter.
“What led to the child to suicide has to be investigated. Before the investigation officer, the dying declaration of the child is available. Their authenticity is undoubted. The foregoing circumstances cumulatively taken will definitely create an impression that the investigation is not proceeding on the right line. Therefore, Investigation cannot continue with the State Police.”Madras High Court
The Tamil Nadu government denied the conversion angle in the case and filed a Special Leave petition through the state DGP challenging the order of the Madras High Court.
Lavanya had released a 44 second long video before her death in which she said that one Raquel Mary was forcing her to convert to Christianity, which she and her parents refused. Total four videos were released and only one of the video mentions the conversion while the other three videos consisted her personal Information, about how she was made to do chores at the school and how she was harassed.