Azam Khan to file fresh apology for Bulandshahr gang-rape remark

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan to file a brief affidavit expressing unconditional apology to the Bulandshahr gang-rape victims for his controversial remarks that the crime was a political conspiracy.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy asked Azam Khan to file a fresh affidavit expressing unconditional apology after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi objected to “If” and “then” in the sentence expressing apology, saying that the presence of “If” and “then” did not make the apology unconditional.

Senior counsel Fali Nariman, who as amicus curiae is assisting the court, too said that there was no need for a long affidavit and Azam Khan could have filed the one paragraph tendering an unconditional apology.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench that in that case he withdrew the affidavit and would file a fresh small affidavit saying that if his remarks have “insulted or humiliated” the rape victims, then he expresses unconditional remorse.

At this the court indicated that it may have to deliver a judgment on what an unconditional apology was and how it should be expressed.

While agreeing to file a fresh affidavit, Sibal told the bench that instead of using word “apology” he would say a”remorse”.

When Rohatgi objected to it, Sibal said: “Lordship knows more about the subtleties of the English language, remorse is as good as apology.”

At this Justice Misra said whether word remorse in place of apology will be accepted or not will be debated on the next date of hearing – December 15.

The court is hearing a plea by the father of rape victim contending that statement of Azam Khan at a press conference that the incident could be political conspiracy would prejudice the investigation and the trial of the case.

Besides the daughter, her mother too was victim of gangrape.

While the investigation has been handed over to CBI, the petitioner father is seeking the transfer of trial to Delhi.

The crime occurred on July 29 night when the 34-year-old woman and her teenage daughter were gang-raped by five to six assailants in Dostpur village on National Highway 91 in Bulandshahr district after waylaying their car carrying six members of the family from Noida.