The Delhi Police, state government and the union home secretary came in the line of fire of Justice JS Verma’s report on Wednesday for their handling of the 16 December gang rape of a 23 year-old student and the protests that followed the incident.
The jurist panel slammed the style of functioning of the Delhi Police, criticised Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for repeatedly expressing helplessness on lack of powers over the police and rapped home secretary RK Singh for patting the city police chief instead of apologising to the public.
“Undisputed facts relating to December 16 incident unmistakably disclose the failure of many public functionaries responsible for traffic regulation, maintenance of law and order and their low skewed priority of dealing with complaints of sexual assault,” states the report.
“Disputes relating to the jurisdiction of the police over the area of crime are often a cause of delay in initiating the process of taking cognizance of the crime…delay in giving necessary medical aid to the victim/injured person is also because of the practice of approaching only a government hospital,” the panel observed.
The home secretary earned the ire of the former chief justice of India for having praised Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar after the 16 December incident. Singh had commended Kumar for having cracked the gang rape case within four days.
“The commissioner of police was given a pat on his back by no less than a person holding the post of home secretary. I was shocked to see that. He should have sought an apology from the Delhi Police instead of praising the force,” Justice Verma said.
The panel criticised the Delhi government for pleading helplessness in tackling the law and order situation, citing lack of control over the police.
“This is a peculiar situation, where the government has no control….It is the reason given publicly by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to escape the responsibility of her government,” it said.
“This ambiguity must be removed forthwith so that there is no divided responsibility in Delhi in respect of maintenance of law and order. Such a step is also essential to maintain accountability,” it concluded.