Can't reopen Aruna Shanbaug case unless court asks: Maharashtra govt

The Maharashtra government on Monday said it will not reopen the case of Aruna Shanbaug, the former nurse who died after lying in coma for 42 years following a brutal sexual assault, unless the court orders.

On November 27, 1973, Shanbaug (66), working at the government-run KEM hospital here, was attacked by Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki a ward boy, in the changing room.

Walmiki gagged her with a dog chain before raping her, which led to her spinal injury.


Aruna Shanbaug

Sohanlal was convicted and served two concurrent seven-year sentences for assault and robbery, and not for rape, molestation or alleged unnatural sex.

"If somebody goes to court asking for reopening of the case, the state government will do as per the court's orders. The government cannot ask the police to take suo motu action. The (court) verdict has already been given. If we order the reopening of files, it will be disrespecting the court's judgment," minister of state for home Ranjit Patil told PTI.

The government will cooperate fully if some human rights organisation appeals to the court to direct the government to reopen Shanbaug's case, he added.

"If somebody comes with proof that a specific point was not considered by the court while delivering the verdict and if the court deems the proof to be valid, it may ask us to get the file reopened," Patil said.

"Many times in the past the court has asked the government to reopen files. If any person or a rights organisation comes forward requesting the court...we will abide by the law and ensure complete co-operation," he said.

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