The Delhi High Court has observed there is a lack of guidelines by which the court can seek intervention of the Home Ministry or the embassy concerned in sexual assault cases where victims or witnesses are foreign nationals.
The high court, which initiated a criminal reference in relation to absence of guidelines on the issue, sought response of the Centre and the Delhi government on it.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said, “In view of the circumstance that, the reference is in relation to absence of the guidelines by which the court can seek intervention/ involvement of the Ministry of Home Affairs and/or concerned embassy/high commission/consulate for making necessary arrangements in this behalf, it is considered necessary to issue notice to the Ministry of External Affairs, through the central government standing counsel….”
In an earlier hearing, the Delhi government’s standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra said he would place on record the necessary arrangements for recording of the testimony of victims or witnesses who are foreign nationals, particularly in cases of sexual assault.
The court asked the authorities to file their respective stands in the form of affidavits within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on March 19.
The court said, “It is also considered just, necessary and expedient to issue notice in the present reference to the Secretary, Delhi Commission of Women and to the Member Secretary, DLSA.”