The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Government to issue directions to its hospitals as well as private ones in the Capital not to refuse treatment to rape or accident victims or any other persons injured in criminal offences taken there for immediate medical care and fulfilling the medico-legal formalities.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Darmar Murugesan and Justice V. K. Jain passed the direction while hearing suo motu the gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapist student in the Capital on December 16 last year.

The Bench directed the Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare of the Delhi Government, to issue directions to the hospitals run by it and the private ones to this effect.

The rushing of the gang-rape victim to Safdarjung Hospital instead of the nearest available hospital from the crime spot near the Mahipalpur flyover in South Delhi weighed with the Bench while issuing the directions.

The friend of the victim had also highlighted the delay in giving treatment to her in an interview to a television channel. He had reportedly said that instead of taking her to Safdarjung Hospital, the victim should have taken to the nearest hospital from the crime spot as she required immediate medical care.

The Bench also made it clear that the police would take the victims of criminal offences to the nearest hospitals for treatment as well as doing the mandatory medico-legal formalities.

To ensure coordination between the hospitals and the Delhi Police for ensuring swift treatment to victims, the Bench directed the Police Commissioner to direct the field staff to take the injured to the nearest hospital for treatment irrespective of whether it was a private or government hospital.

Earlier, advocate Meira Bhatia urged the Court to pass directions for treatment and preparation of medico-legal cases of victims of criminal offences by all hospitals in the Capital irrespective of their ownership so that there was no delay in reaching medical care to them. She also submitted that such an arrangement was required in view of delays in the past in giving treatment to these victims, alleging that there was also a delay in rushing the gang-rape victim to a hospital.

Meanwhile, the police filed a new status report in a sealed cover on the personnel on duty on PCR vans along the route on which the young woman was gang-raped.

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