New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed a trial court to "reconstruct" the records pertaining to a 20-year-old rape case, in which judicial and police files went missing.
A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain also said that the trial court could proceed with the matter if the case had not been settled between the parties.
It gave the direction while disposing of a PIL which had alleged that the rape case was pending in a lower court without any hearing as the judicial and police files had gone missing.
"We will dispose of the matter with a direction to reconstruct the records of the case. If it is not settled, the trial court can proceed with the case," the judges said.
The court said that a detailed order will be passed later.
Earlier, the police had informed the high court that the case was disposed of in 1995 after the parties had reached a settlement, but the main accused out of four is currently lodged in jail in connection with another rape case.
The court had then asked the petitioner Shweta Singh, an advocate, to talk to the victim or her family members and inform it whether the case has been settled.
Singh today told the bench that she spoke to the victim and other members of her family but got no clue about the settlement.
The lawyer submitted before the court that it may pass an appropriate order.
To this argument, the bench said that the "court is ready to pass an order for re-probe into the case after so many years but our order should not hamper her married life."
On the last date of hearing, the bench had gone through the Saket district judge`s report which had stated that as per the court register, the matter was disposed of on October 18, 1995 but no record was found.
According to the PIL, the accused, who had got bail 19 years ago in the case, had allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl in Connaught Place here in June 1993.
According to the petition, though police had arrested the accused and filed a charge sheet in September 1993, the case file went missing during the court proceedings and had not been found since.
The accused was released on bail in February 1994, it had said.
The PIL had said that the matter came to light after the victim`s relatives filed an RTI to find out the status of the case.
In the RTI reply, it was stated that the file of the case had been misplaced while the matter was shown as active in police and court records, it had said.
The PIL had also submitted that "... There was no progress in the case and even after repeated requests to the various authorities, the file in the case could not be traced.
"The police have shown a very lax and casual approach in this case and in the matter of the file going missing," it had said while seeking retrieval and reconstruction of the case file.
The petition had also urged the court to find out if the Delhi government and the police were responsible in the case.