New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday accepted a fresh status report disclosing the names of police officials patrolling the area in which a 23-year-old girl was gangraped in a moving bus here, after the city police tendered apology for not disclosing the names earlier.
"I tender my unconditional apology for not giving names of the policemen who were on duty in the PCR vans concerned, though their names have figured in the charge sheet as they are witnesses in the case," Dayan Krishnan, counsel for Delhi Police told a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan before filing the fresh status report.
"The status report says that police personnel deployed on the PCR vans are the witnesses in the case and the chargesheet has their names. So, what was the difficulty in showing their names in the status report? You should have told us this earlier," the bench also comprising Justice V K Jain remarked.
The court had taken strong exception on Wednesday to the fact that only a junior police officer was suspended in connection with the case and that senior ones, including the police commissioner, were not made accountable.
"Why only ACP, why not DCP, why not the Commissioner have been put to task?" the bench had remarked.
During the hearing, the court also said, "We direct the police officials to ensure removal of dark film/tinted glasses and curtains from the vehicles in Delhi without any delay."
The court, meanwhile, asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to take immediate steps to increase the number of PCR vans in the Capital to ensure better safety of citizens, including women.
"We are also of the view that the Central government should look into the said issue and total number of PCR vans be increased from existing 617," the court said adding that the role of such PCR vans should also be revisited to use them for proper patrolling purposes also.
The court also warned the city police that it cannot be blamed for any "consequential order".
"We had directed you to give the names of the officials posted on relevant PCR vans and the areas concerned. Today also, we are not convinced (from the status report) because the names of the officials have not been given. You (police) don't blame the court then. We will pronounce the order tomorrow," a bench, also comprising Justice V K Jain, said.
The bench said "sufficient" opportunities have been given but the names of the cops have not been provided.
On being told that there are 67 PCR vans deployed in South district, the bench said "we are not concerned about those 67 PCR vans and we are concerned about the three PCR vans and the police officials.. where is the report on this?"
Dayan Krishnan, the counsel for police, said there were two PCR vans close to the site and it cannot be said that the bus, in which offence took place, passed through them.
"Earlier, it was said that there were three PCR vans, now you are saying there were two PCR vans," the bench said, adding that as the chargesheet has been filed, it would not monitor the case.
The court had taken suo motu cognisance of the gang rape and had pulled up the police asking as to how the offence remained undetected.
At the start of the hearing, police had filed a status report in a sealed cover and the bench, after perusing it, expressed its anguish over not finding the names of the cops.
"Till today, you are not giving the names. What is the difficulty? You cannot hold back the names like this. We are not happy. Earlier also, we had expressed our unhappiness, even then you are not giving the names. What actions have you taken so far?," the bench said.
"We wanted a fair, speedy and high standard probe in the case. The chargesheet has been filed, we cannot monitor further. It is not in the interest of the case and the trial," the bench said.
Justice Jain wanted to know how the bus with tinted glass and curtains was allowed to ply on Delhi roads and what actions have been taken.
The counsel for police said action against has also been taken against an ACP (traffic).
"Why are you taking action against the ACP and why not Joint Commissioner (Traffic)... do you want to say that the bus was plying in south Delhi only"? Justice Jain remarked.
Earlier, the court had slammed the police for not giving the names of the policemen who were on patrol duty on the evening of December 16. It had, on December 19, taken suo motu cognisance of the gang rape incident and had decided to monitor its probe by directing police to carry an investigation of "high standard" and file the chargesheet only after the court's perusal.