Pulling up the government for its “failure” in setting up additional forensic science laboratories (FSL) in the capital, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed it to sort out the issue of allotment of land for the FSLs within two weeks.
“Is it not a failure of the government? Four months have passed between October and February you have not been able to take a decision and allot land… and because of your laches the courts can’t dispose of cases…” the court of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw observed.
In October, the court had directed the L-G to conduct a meeting of all stakeholders and allot land for creating regional FSLs in East and South Delhi to take up the pending investigation.
However, in its affidavit submitted on February 1, the Delhi Home Department had informed the court that the government had not started the process of allotment of land for FSLs in East Delhi and Dwarka. The affidavit also stated that the government would “explore the possibility” of allotment of land in these two zones.
The court took exception to the submission. “Crucial issue of strengthening of investigation process is not done, nobody in the government is bothered,” the court said, adding that it was “very disappointed with the way the government is behaving”.
The observations were made during a hearing on the suo motu PIL taken up by the court on the issue of policing and safety of women after the December 16 gangrape. Various issues, including those related to emergency medical aid, PCR vans, victim compensation and improvement of investigation process are being monitored in the PIL.
The court also pulled up the Home Ministry and the Delhi Police for slow recruitment of women in the police force.
Criminal Standing counsel Dayan Krishnan told the court that with additional recruitment of women, 18 – 19 per cent of the police force was now women officers. “We have requested for an additional 2,685 posts or women officers from the Home Ministry,” Krishnan said.
The court, however, noted that the file regarding the additional recruitment was being passed between police and the ministry, and has asked police to ensure that the paperwork was cleared expeditiously.
The Chief Justice also took note of the affidavit field by the Home ministry, where it had asked various ministries to begin gender sensitisation training. “Are you monitoring or getting feedback on whether they are implementing it? Or are you simply sending communication and washing your hands of it?” the court said.
The court also pulled up Zubeda Begum and Dayan Krishnan, standing counsels for the Delhi government, for the lapses after taking note of the affidavits filed by the government.
According to an affidavit by the Revenue department, only 778 persons, including victims of rape, acid attacks and other violence against women cases had been given compensation under the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme since 2012.
Advocate Meera Bhatia, who has been assisting the court in the case, said most victims were unaware of the scheme, and therefore could not apply for compensation.