New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking a CBI probe into the alleged mass molestation of students at Delhi’s all-woman Gargi College during the cultural festival last week.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde directed lawyer ML Sharma to move the Delhi High Court with his plea instead for seeking an urgent hearing at the top court. “If they (High Court) dismiss the petition then you come here,” the bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said.
Petitioner ML Sharma had sought a direction to the probe agency to seize all video recordings and CCTV camera footage of the college campus. He had also sought the arrest of the people behind, what he called, a “planned criminal conspiracy”. The apex court said that it would like to have the advantage of Delhi HC’s view on this matter.
However, as Sharma expressed apprehension that electronic evidence related to the case might be destroyed, the SC said, “Delhi High Court can also pass order like the Telangana High Court in the police encounter case to preserve electronic evidence”.
The case relates to an incident on February 6 when a group of men broke into Gargi College during their ‘Reverie’ Fest and allegedly groped, harassed and molested the attendees. The women at the fest claimed that security officials were well aware of the situation but they just kept watching when the incident took place.
The incident stormed up on social media platforms after some students took to Instagram to narrate their unpleasant experience and alleged that security personnel were negligent in controlling the unruly groups.
The petitioner alleged that it was a planned political and criminal conspiracy hatched in the backdrop of the Delhi elections and since February 6, no action has been taken against the accused.
“The state government took no action. It is a clear criminal conspiracy hatched by the political party to deploy accused persons to provoke the Delhi public for effecting voting in their favour. Despite the presence of Delhi Police … on February 6, neither principal nor other state authorities tried to stop and arrest the accused persons,” the PIL had stated.
The petition claimed that “deliberate chants of Jai Shri Ram discloses that it is a political, planned conspiracy” and blamed the chief minister of Delhi for not taking any action against the accused. It must be noted that the incident took place when the elections were around the nook. Polls in the national capital were held on February 8, while the counting happened on February 11.
“Entire incident is being supported/protected by the state government and no action of arrest has been done till now for justice and to prosecute all accused persons therefore unless this court takes action, real political persons and accused persons will not be arrested at all,” the petitioner alleged in his plea.
Besides the security arranged by the college, the area was barricaded by Delhi Police and paramilitary force personnel who were stationed there for the assembly polls.
A total of 10 people were arrested in the case registered at Hauz Khas Police Station. Police further informed that over 11 teams were working on the case and are visiting various sites in the Delhi-NCR for identification of suspects.
The Delhi Police has registered the case under IPC sections 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
With PTI inputs