Police tender apology to HC, submit fresh status report
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The Delhi Police on Thursday tendered an "unconditional apology" to Delhi High Court for the delay in filing a status report with details of names of "errant officers" against whom action had been taken following the gangrape and torture of a 23-year-old woman who died 13 days after the assault on board a bus on December 16.
The police also submitted a fresh status report with the names of two ACPs and four beat constables who have been suspended for "laxity".
"I tender my unconditional apology for not giving names of the policemen who were on duty in the PCR vans concerned, though their names have figured in the chargesheet as they are witnesses in the case," Dayan Krishnan, counsel for Delhi Police, said.
The bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain had taken suo motu cognisance of the incident and decided to monitor the investigation process.
In an order on December 19, the court had observed that the status report submitted by the police had stated that there were three PCR vans stationed along the route that the bus took. "If police officials who were on duty at the relevant point of time had been vigilant, the incident could possibly have been avoided," the court noted, adding that it had asked the police to file a report regarding the officers on duty that night.
In reports submitted on December 21 and January 9, the police did not give details of the officers concerned and the action taken against them. The court took a tough stand on the conduct of the police during the hearing on Wednesday.
In the report submitted on Thursday, the police said that there were only two police control room (PCR) vans on the route and not three as stated earlier.
The court also took note of the submission by police that out of the 66 PCR vans made available for south district, two were under maintenance and eleven condemned. Overall, 74 of 670 PCR vehicles were off road for different reasons. The police told the court that a proposal for repair and replacement of vehicles had been pending with the Home Ministry. The court asked the government to "take remedial measures on urgent basis" and to consider increasing the number of PCR vehicles available.
Additional Solicitor General Rajiv Mehra, appearing on behalf of the Central government, also assured the court that the government will "reassess how patrolling can be increased" and look to increase the role of PCR vans.
The court kept pending a petition related to emergency medical treatment of the victims in the gangrape case after noting that a commission of inquiry had been set up by the government to look into the matter. "We are inclined to wait for the report of the commission so that comprehensive directions can be given in this regard," the bench said. The matter will be heard next on January 31.
Media restraint order challenged in HC
A petition, filed in the High Court by advocate Meenakshi Lekhi on behalf of some journalists, has challenged metropolitan magistrate Namrita Aggarwal's order imposing a ban on media reporting of proceedings in the gangrape case. Lekhi mentioned the petition during the hearing on Thursday but the bench declined to hear it along with the police probe matter. The court registry was asked to post the petition before an appropriate bench on Friday for expeditious hearing.
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