Advocate ML Sharma has moved the Delhi HC seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the recent mass molestation and sexual harassment incident at Delhi’s Gargi College

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Advocate ML Sharma has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the recent mass molestation and sexual harassment incident at Delhi’s Gargi College.

Prior Facts:

Sharma had filed a similar petition before the Supreme Court but moved the High Court within hours of being asked to approach the Delhi High Court first. Sharma today mentioned his petition for urgent hearing before the Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde. CJI Bobde, however, refused to entertain the petition and asked Sharma to move the Supreme Court in case the petition is dismissed by the High Court.

On February 6, a mob of men reportedly gate-crashed the college fest organized by Delhi’s Gargi College. Scenes turned ugly as the mob allegedly molested and sexually harassed the students. The shocking incident came to light a couple of days later, when the students took to social media to recount the horrific incident.

Ten people, between the ages of 18 and 25 years, were arrested by police on 12 February in connection with the incident.

Key Features:

  • The Delhi High Court will on Monday hear a plea seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged molestation of students during a cultural festival at Delhi University’s all-women Gargi College last week.
  • The plea was mentioned on Friday for urgent hearing before a bench of Justices GS Sistani and C Hari Shankar which said it will be listed for 17 February. Advocate and petitioner M L Sharma said nothing had been done till now.
  • Sharma said, “Till today nothing has been done. On 9th they registered an FIR, they arrested 10 persons just two days back.”
  • The plea has also sought the arrest of people behind the ‘planned criminal conspiracy’.
  • Sharma has sought the preservation of all video recordings and CCTV camera footage of the college campus in his plea.
  • The plea has also sought the arrest of people behind the “planned criminal conspiracy”.
  • The petition further 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.
  • Sharma in the PIL mentioned that, “It is a clear criminal conspiracy hatched by the political party to deploy accused persons to provoke the Delhi public for voting in their favour. Despite presence of Delhi Police on 6 February, neither principal nor other state authorities tried to stop and arrest the accused persons”.
  • According to the police, a case was registered 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).
  • This is not the first time that Gargi College’s fest has landed in controversy. Last year too, several students had complained of harassment.

Judgement:

The bench observed that the Delhi High Court could pass order similar in the nature to the Telangana High Court, where the court directed to preserve the electronic evidence in the police encounter case.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing next week.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.