"The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that a widow in her late 20s was allegedly sold by her father and aunt for Rs 10,000, gang raped by her keeper and his friends, and then turned away by police when she approached them for help," the rights panel said in a statement.
The traumatised woman set herself on fire last month and is battling for life with 80 per cent burns at a private hospital in Delhi, as per news reports carried on Monday.
The commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary and the director general of police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh, seeking a detailed report on the medical treatment being given to the victim, the steps taken to ensure protection of her life and steps to be taken for her rehabilitation.
"The DGP has been further directed to inform the commission in detail about the progress of the investigation, and arrest, if any... It has called for both the reports within four weeks," the statement said.
This gives an extremely shocking and pulsating narrative depicting the vulnerability of the helpless woman, who became a widow at an early age, whereby she had been subjected to deprivation of human life and dignity, the NHRC observed.
"Moreover, remissness and the act of negligence on the part of police authorities for not registering on time, the case by arresting the accused person has aggravated the distressful plight of the woman, which cannot be tolerated in a civilized society governed by the rule of law," it said.
The commission has observed that it has always been keen to address the issues related to violation of human rights of the weaker section, mainly women and children.
The NHRC is aware that the Delhi Commission for Women has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, but the jurisdiction of the DCW, fails to empower them to provide adequate justice to the victim, the woman in question, it said.
The statement said any commission other than a national commission has its jurisdiction within the territory of the state and the Delhi Commission for Women is no exception.
On the other hand, the NHRC in view of Section 1 (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, can exercise its power and functions in the whole of India and therefore, the jurisdictional issue of Section 36 (1) of the act, will not stand in the way to take up the reported incident, it said.
"According to the media report, the woman from Hapur in western Uttar Pradesh, was allegedly sold after the death of her husband. The man who bought her had taken loans from several people and sent the woman as a domestic help to the houses of his creditors where she was repeatedly harassed and raped," the statement said.
The news report said an FIR has been registered against 14 persons under the various sections of the Indian Penal Code, and investigation has been initiated in the case.
It is reported that the woman alleged that she approached police officials as well as the superintendent of police in Hapur, but they refused to register her complaint, let alone take any action against the accused, the NHRC said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)