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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Court orders therapy for parents whose daughter jumped off Signature Bridge: ‘Delay in FIR caused unimaginable anguish’

The court also came down heavily on the Delhi Police over a delay in registration of an FIR in the case.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: October 1, 2021 10:38:04 am
The woman had jumped off the Signature Bridge in June. (File Photo)

Coming down heavily on the police over a delay in registration of an FIR in the case where a woman died after jumping off the Signature Bride in the national capital, a Delhi court ordered therapy sessions for the parents while acknowledging the unbearable pain of losing a daughter.

The woman’s father had filed the complaint on June 24, 2021, after she had gone missing and named one Ayush Panwar as the accused in the case. He had made another complaint against Panwar levelling allegations of abetment of suicide, but the police did not register an FIR, the court noted. The woman’s body was retrieved from the Yamuna river. The family has alleged that the cops refused to register an FIR despite them visiting the police station for 15-16 days.

Additional sessions judge Arul Varma, while denying bail to the accused on September 28, said, “One can only imagine the anguish and unbearable pains of loss that they would be suffering from. For the traumatic ordeal and agony they underwent and the after effects of which they are still reeling under, it becomes imperative for the family as a whole to undergo therapeutic sessions which would involve counselling as well.”

The court ordered the secretary of the Central District Legal Services Authority to direct the concerned authorities for the counselling sessions.

The court added that “this lack of apathy coupled with dereliction of duty and disobedience of the law of the land as laid down by the Supreme Court…deserves not only the strictest condemnation but also invitation of legal proceedings against the officers of the Delhi Police”.

Relying on the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the mandatory registration of an FIR, the court reported the misconduct of the police to the disciplinary authority and asked them to take stringent action as per law, which may include suspension in contemplation of departmental proceedings.

The court stated that the delay in registration of the FIR “assumes significance in light of the fact that the CCTV footage of relevant date could not be recovered”. “Thus, it is apparent that a vital piece of evidence may have been lost on account of delay in registering the FIR, and in conducting investigation thereafter,” the court added.

The court further noted that the “hapless father” had approached the Delhi Commission for Woman (DCW) with a complaint alleging that the police only made a General Diary (GD) entry and “did not even write down the name of the accused”.

The investigating officer (IO) of the case had said that the delay was due to an inquiry which was being conducted by the special staff.

The court relied on many orders passed in the case relating to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. “Thus, initiation of inquest proceedings ought not to have come in the way of registering of an FIR, that too in a complaint qua missing person,” the court noted

The court said that the IO’s reasons for delay in registration of FIR “is bereft of not only legal, but also moral justification”.

“A father lost his daughter, and would be in great grief. Nothing can be more devastating than losing a child. This grief can be exacerbated by feelings of a sense of injustice. Non registration of an FIR qua the alleged perpetrators, would have caused unimaginable anguish to the parents and they would be left feeling helpless, and harbour a deep sense of injustice. Despite that, the conduct of the police authorities prima facie is reflective of adoption of a callous and cavalier attitude in as much as they demonstrated reprehensible insensitivity while dealing with this complaint,” the order read.

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