New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government on a plea seeking separate police lock-ups for women detainees in order to protect them from "sexual abuse" and "ill-treatment". A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw sought responses from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi government, Delhi Police commissioner by September 10.
"Issue notice to respondent no 1, 3 and 4 (Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi government and Commissioner of Delhi Police)," the bench said.
The court`s order came over a PIL filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik which said that there was an urgent need to bring down the sexual abuse, harassment, ill-treatment and torture committed upon women detainees in police lock-ups.
Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the petitioner pointed out two separate criminal cases registered in Rohini, where women were arrested by police at night without proper permission from the magistrate courts concerned. He said that they were arrested by male police personnel, and were not produced before the magistrate courts concerned immediately but were produced the next day.
In both cases, the women alleged that they were sexually abused, harassed, humiliated, and tortured at the hands of male police personnel in the police lock-up, the plea said.
The plea sought appointment of Additional Sessions Judge, preferably a woman, to make periodical, surprise and random visits to such lock-ups especially in the nights to see the condition of the women suspects. The petition has sought direction for the police commissioner to deal with complaints of violation of human and women rights by police officers in lock-ups.
"Direct police commissioner to deal with the complainants and information received regarding violation of human and women rights by police officers in lock-ups promptly, seriously and with heavy hands in a deterrent manner to prevent the abuse of power by police officers," it said.
The petition also asked for suitable "sensitisation programmes" to make metropolitan magistrates more trained, sensitive and judicial with respect to granting permission to police to arrest a woman at night.
The petition, further, states that "It is a matter of disappointment that even Delhi Legal Services Authority did take no step in bringing the matter before this court."