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Delhi HC: Preserve CCTV Footage in Alleged Illegal Detention Case of Purdahnashin Muslim Woman

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Published on: December 03, 2023 at 12:48 IST

The Delhi High Court has directed the preservation of CCTV footage within and around a police station following allegations by a purdahnashin Muslim woman. She claims she was forcibly taken from her home without her veil and unlawfully detained in the police station.

Justice Saurabh Banerjee ordered the Delhi Police to retain footage from cameras installed by the government or private residents around her residence leading to the police station.

The court has acknowledged the woman’s plea for a fair investigation supervised by the concerned DCP, focusing on the incident that occurred during the early hours of November 5-6. Allegedly, police officers from Chandni Mahal police station arrived at her residence, conducted a search, and took her to the police station without her veil. There, she alleges facing inhuman treatment, including physical assault.

Beyond seeking action against the officers involved, she also aims to sensitize the Delhi Police about respecting the religious and social customs, specifically those observing Purdah, as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Her legal representative highlighted that the police actions violated Section 46(4) of the CrPC, which prohibits arresting a woman before sunrise or after sunset except under exceptional circumstances.

He argued that even in such cases, the arrest should involve a female officer and require prior permission from a Judicial Magistrate.

The court has given the Delhi Police four weeks to submit a status report on the actions taken regarding the woman’s complaints. Additionally, they’ve ordered the preservation of specific CCTV footage from both the police station and the surroundings on the mentioned date.

Case Title: RESHMA v. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE