Taking suo motu cognisance of the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in New Delhi, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the city police asking how the offence remained undetected.
“This incident is of great concern for all the citizens of the capital city as it relates to the safety particularly of women and girl children in Delhi,” a bench headed by Chief Justice D. Murugesan said and asked city Police Commissioner to file a detailed status report within two days.
The court was anguished over the non-implementation of the Supreme Court order on complete ban of vehicles with tinted glasses and asked the counsel for the Delhi Police to explain as to how it has not been implemented so far.
“There are two important questions. The first is the investigation in the case and the second is the preventive measures. We want to know what preventive measures have been taken by the police to prevent such incidents,” the bench also comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.
“The court on its own motion has listed the matter,” the bench said.
Asking the police to file status report, the bench said that the probe must be “of high standards” and the final charge sheet “has to be” filed only after its perusal by this court.
“We would be issuing necessary directions time to time in this court. This court will also issue the guidelines after taking note of the contentions of all concerned,” it said.
The court also expressed surprise as to how the bus, having tinted glasses, kept plying on Delhi roads for 40 minutes during which the sexual assault of the girl remained undetected.
“We are at loss to understand as to how the bus could evade surveillance for 40 minutes... The Commissioner of Police is directed to file a report including the details of police officers who were on patrolling duty in the area.
“The Police Commissioner shall also state the steps taken to remove the tinted glasses from vehicles including public transport,” the court said.
The bench asked the police to employ sufficient number of police personnel at all entry points to the national capital to ensure that vehicles with tinted glasses do not sneak in.
The court, which also asked the Director CFSL to accord primacy to the investigation in the present case, sought to know about the present status of the victim inside the government hospital and asked the Delhi Government to consider shifting her to a super speciality hospital.
“We direct the Delhi Government to shift, if possible, the victim to a super speciality hospital. If it is not possible to shift her, then the experts be asked to visit her,” Justice Murugesan said and posted the matter for hearing on Friday.
Earlier during the hearing, the court said that it has accepted the request of the Chief Minister to constitute fast-track courts for speedy trial in rape cases.
Advocate Najmi Waziri, counsel for Delhi Government, then said that the court may also consider setting up of fast track court for gang-rape cases also.
“In any case, the fast track courts will not work if investigation is of poor quality. Rather it will lead to acquittal within three months,” Justice Endlaw responded and added “that the probe has to be of high standards. Have you examined the bus forensically?”
Advocate Waziri informed the court that a special investigation team (SIT) headed by DCP Chhaya Sharma has been formed and a proper and expeditious probe is underway.
On Tuesday, a group of 25 women lawyers had mentioned the matter before a different bench which had assured them that it was looking into the “brazen” incident.
“It was a brazen attempt by some persons who think that they can play with the law and order. We are very disturbed,” the court had said, adding “strong signals must be sent to the perpetrators” of this “unfortunate” incident.
The lawyers, including former DUSU President Monica Arora, mentioned the incident before the bench urging it to take suo motu cognisance and monitor the probe in the case.
A Delhi court had on Tuesday remanded the bus driver Ram Singh, who along with others allegedly gang-raped the girl on Sunday night, to five days in police custody.
Apart from Ram Singh, three others have been arrested in the case, while the hunt is on for the rest, Delhi police had told the court.