Ensure adequate force provided at colleges during cultural fests for students’ safety: HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Delhi police to ensure adequate personnel are provided before holding any cultural festival or such programmes at colleges as it is their duty to ensure the safety of students.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula said as and when such functions take place in any college or educational institution, it shall be the duty of the authorities, including Delhi police, to ensure the safety and security of students.

The high court, which disposed of a petition seeking a court-monitored CBI investigation into the incident of alleged sexual harassment of girl students during a cultural festival at the all-women Gargi College of Delhi University in February 2020, said it will pass a detailed order in the matter.

“In order to avoid such unfortunate incidents in future, the Commissioner of Delhi Police is directed to ensure that before holding any such programme, proper police force is provided,” the bench said.

During the hearing, the counsel for Delhi police submitted the city police have filed an “untraced report” before the trial court as not even a single girl identified anyone who sexually harassed them. An untraced report is filed when an accused does not join investigation or police are unable to arrest an accused in a case.

The students said they were molested but none of them came forward for recording their statement before a magistrate as they have moved on in their lives and their families do not want to pursue any criminal, police said.

The Delhi police’s counsel also said they have scanned the CCTV footage of the camera installed outside the college gate but could not identify who all indulged in alleged acts of sexual harassment. The high court said since the matter is pending before a magisterial court in Saket, no further orders are required to be passed in the PIL.

On February 6, 2020, a group of men broke into Gargi College during the ‘Reverie’ fest and allegedly groped, harassed and molested the attendees, who claimed security officials stood watching when the incident took place.

The incident came to light after some students took to Instagram to narrate their ordeal and alleged that security personnel did nothing to control the unruly groups.

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