Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava had filed the PIL in his personal capacity seeking justice for an eight-month-old girl who was brutally raped by her 28-year-old cousin in Delhi.
It was a busy Saturday for advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava whose Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in January demanding death penalty for child rapists played a crucial role behind the Centre’s decision to bring in an ordinance allowing courts to pronounce death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years.
Srivastava had filed the PIL in his personal capacity seeking justice for an eight-month-old girl who was brutally raped by her 28-year-old cousin in Delhi.
“I read about the case in newspapers and went to see her. It was a heart-wrenching experience. Her parents are daily wagers and could not afford her treatment. I decided then that I will move the Supreme Court seeking justice for her. The only punishment for a crime of such depravity can be death,” said Srivastava, a gold medallist from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University.
It was following his PIL that the SC set up a medical board to examine the girl and directed authorities to ensure proper treatment.
The girl survived due to his intervention and her family can’t thank him enough.
Inundated with calls from well-wishers, friends, and family, Srivastava told HT that it was a chance encounter with former Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia that made him quit a well-paying law officer’s job in the government sector and join litigation.
“Justice Kapadia had come to the Indian Law Institute convocation in 2012. I was the topper that year. While giving me the gold medal and certificate, he told me that young people like me should fight for the marginalised sections of the society,” he said.
Srivastava quit his job as a law officer in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited soon after. In 2014, he started his own practice.
He filed his first PIL in July 2017, seeking termination of pregnancy of a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her maternal uncle in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh district court had denied permission to the girl to abort. Srivastava could not help much as by the time the medical board constituted by the court examined the girl her pregnancy was at an advanced stage.
“But the attention that the case generated ensured that the girl who gave birth to a daughter was adopted by a couple from Maharashtra. This was a big relief for the girl as her parents had refused to take the child home,” he said.
With two young daughter of his own, Srivastava said that he can’t stop himself from taking up cases involving young victims of heinous crime like rape. “As a father, I feel for the parents of these children. I won’t be able to forgive myself, if I look the other way,” he said.
The story was first published in Hindustan Times