Delhi HC grants permission to ‘United Sikhs’ to meet Shahdara gang rape victim

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Sowmiya Rajendrakumar

Published on : July 28, 2022 at 19:40 IST

The Delhi High Court recently allowed an NGO called ‘United Sikhs’ (a UN-affiliated organization) to meet with a Sikh woman who was brutally gang-raped and paraded in East Delhi’s Shahdara area in January this year(United Sikhs v. Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police & Ors)

While doing so, Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta warned that political colour should not be given to the incident, nor should any religious reflection be added out of context, to avoid the distortion of the criminal justice system.

Court  ordered, “Since, at present, there is no restriction or bar in meeting of any individual or organization with the victim for rendering any assistance as per stand of the respondents, the petitioner through representatives is at liberty to meet or interact with victim “P‟ in accordance with law.”

Further, the Court also ordered the respondents, including the Delhi Police, to ensure the facilitation of any such meeting.

“A meeting generally cannot be denied for providing necessary legal aid and assistance, if so required by the victim, to ensure delivery of justice and fair trial but the caution remains that such meetings are not used inappropriately for creating any ‘law and order’ situation or arousing the emotions of a particular community in an adverse manner, thereby disturbing the public tranquility or likely to cause breach of peace,” the Court said.

The Court thus allowed the NGO to meet with the 21-year-old victim, who was paraded around with a garland of footwear around her neck after being gang-raped, whilst simultaneously being beaten up by the accused’s family members.

In its order, the Court also acknowledged the petitioner’s effort to raise important issues regarding rights of the victim for legal aid, assistance and representation for proper investigation before the courts of law as per their choice as well as to confer rights on the organizations of the nature of the United Sikhs to meaningfully intervene and assist for the same purpose.

“Wherein a victim is unable to engage a lawyer, secure legal services on account of indigence or poverty or incommunicado situation, the State under such situation is mandated to provide appropriate legal aid even to the victims, if the circumstances so warrant and ensure justice,” the Court added.

Advocates Satinder Singh Gulati and Kamaldeep Gulati appeared for United Sikhs.

Meanwhile ASC Rupali Bandhopadhyay and Advocate B Badrinath appeared for the respondents including Delhi Police and DSLSA respectively.

Finally, the Court directed that a copy of this order be forwarded to the trial court and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority for ensuring time-bound disposal of the case registered at Vivek Vihar, Delhi with requisite legal assistance rendered to the victim, in accordance with law.

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