New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court was told Tuesday that the right to love and marriage was a part of the fundamental right to live and the Kolkata policemen who allegedly acted in its violation in the Rizwanur Rehman-Priyanka Todi inter-religious marriage should be punished.
Computer graphic teacher Rizwanur, who married businessman Ashok Todi’s daughter Priyanka in August 2007, was found dead by the railway tracks between Dumdum and Bidan Nagar police station in Kolkata Sep 21, 2007.
Kishwar Jahan, Rizwanur’s morther, told the Supreme court: “Whether (her son’s death was a) murder or suicide, it is a matter of investigation and I will have to accept it. Even if it is a suicide it is because of the pressure (brought on Rizwanur) and the abetment to suicide by the police and also by the Todis and they should not go unpunished.”
While reserving its verdict, an apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan said: “The allegation is that without a FIR (first information report) or complaint, the police called the couple and pressured them to enter into an agreement (by which Priyanka was taken back to her father to Todis’ home). Now it is a matter of investigation or disciplinary inquiry.”
The apex court was hearing a case related to the marriage of Rizwanur with Priyanka Aug 18, 2007 and his death later. Rizwanur allegedly invited the wrath of Todi for marrying his daughter as he was from a different religion.
There were allegations that Kolkata policemen acted at the instance of Todi and harassed Rizwanur.
In the wake of these allegations, a single judge of the Calcutta High Court Oct 16, 2007 ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which found Todi guilty of abetment to Rizwanur’s suicide.
On May 18, 2010, a division bench of the high court set aside the order of the single judge and ordered a fresh probe by the CBI, directing the registration of a murder case.
This order of the division bench of the high court was challenged in the apex court by all, including the CBI, Kishwar Jahan and Todi.
Appearing for Kishwar Jahan, senior counsel Kalyan Bandyopadhyay said: “The chain of facts and sequence of events points to interference in the personal life of Rizwanur Rehman-Priyanka Todi. Calling them to Lal Bazar police headquarters was illegal as there was no cognizable crime registered against them.”
Bandyopadhyay told the court that the right to live also meant the right of not to be disturbed. He said that the conduct of Kolkata police interfered with Rizwanur Rehman-Priyanka Todi’s conjugal right and was contrary to earlier apex court verdict on the role of the state in inter-caste or inter-religious marriages.
Appearing for the CBI, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that the high court division bench’s “judgment is completely inconsistent as one part of the judgment does not meet the other part”.
Assailing the impugned judgment of the division bench that had said that state police should not have handed over the case papers to the CBI (after Oct 16, 2007 direction of single judge), solicitor general said: “Can the court say that an instrument of state which is bound to abide by the court order, should have in fact acted in defiance of it.”
Subramanium also assailed the high court for advocating two parallel probes one by the state criminal investigation department (CID) and other by the CBI.
He told the court that the CID was “indecisive and vacillating” from time to time in carrying out its mandate.
Subramanium, referring to the impugned high court verdict, said: “Indicted officers and investigating agency (CID) were sailing in the same boat”.
The solicitor general told the court that Todis were from the conservative section of society and police at the instance of Ashok Todi brought pressure on the couple in order to break their marriage.