The Supreme Court today directed controversial Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan to tender an “unconditional apology” for alleged remarks on the sensational Bulandshahr gang rape case while seeking assistance of the Attorney General in dealing with the issue of statements made by persons holding public offices in such cases.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy referred to the old adage that “words once spoken cannot be recalled” and asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khan, that “if he (Khan) files an affidavit tendering unconditional apology, the matter ends”.
During the hearing, Sibal told the bench that though Khan has not said anything, attributed to him, against the victims in the case, but if the father of the victim felt “insulted or offended” in any manner then the Samajwadi Party leader is willing to apologise.
“Let the affidavit tendering unconditional apology be filed within two weeks,” the bench said, adding that it would deliberate upon the questions framed by it earlier regarding the freedom of speech and expression and probable impact of statements of those holding high offices on free and fair probe in heinous cases including rape and molestation.
Terming dignity of women as “uncompromisable”, the bench asked the state government to ensure that the minor survivor of the gang rape gets admission in a nearby central school of the choice of her father.
The cost of admission and education shall be borne by the state government and the Centre will render all assistance for it, the court said, noting the school will ensure the dignity of the rape survivor.
“The controvery does not end here. The unconditional apology to be given by R-2 (Khan) will be considered by this court as to whether it should be accepted. The issue of questions framed by this court earlier will be deliberated upon. We request Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist this court,” the bench, which fixed the matter for further hearing on December 7, said.
Noted jurist and amicus curiae Fali S Nariman told the bench that the questions framed by the court should be debated upon so that a decision could be given on the issue regarding statements by persons holding high offices in cases like rape and molestation.
However, the bench observed, “The responsibility of the press, the responsibility of the persons holding public offices qua dignity of a woman should be there.”