New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday gave a last opportunity to UP government to file reply on a petition seeking a judicial probe into the alleged rape of a Dalit girl by Banda BSP legislator Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi.
   
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha granted two weeks time to the Home Secretary of the state and Superintendent of Police of Banda to file reply saying that they will have to personally appear before it in case they fail to do so.
   
The court passed the order on a public interest lawsuit filed by advocate Raja Ram and Irudaya Nathan seeking an independent judicial probe into the incident, allegedly involving the BSP legislator and his aides.
   
The petitioner have alleged that the authorities had committed a grave error by foisting false cases against the victim, who was a minor and was entitled to protection under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
   
They alleged that the magistrate, in violation of the JJ Act, had sent her to jail, while she should have been sent to a juvenile care centre.
   
"A magistrate is not empowered under the Act to try the case of a juvenile. The magistrate, who had the theft case filed against the juvenile, had to follow the Act regarding grant of bail of juvenile," the petitioner had said.

The petitioner alleged that the police and judicial officers were trying to protect the MLA.
   
Initiate enquiry showed that the juvenile was sent to jail instead of being produced before the competent authority as required under the Juvenile Justice Act.
   
The 17-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by Dwivedi in Banda on December 10 and 11. The girl had escaped from his residence on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her again.
   
The girl, however, was arrested in connection with an allegedly false case of theft lodged by the legislator's brother against her.
   
48-year-old Dwivedi was later arrested from Banda. The apex court had on January 17 agreed to consider a plea for a judicial enquiry into the alleged rape case.

(Agencies)