The Delhi High Court in the case Reshma v. The Commissioner Of Police observed and has ordered preservation of CCTV footage of cameras inside and around a police station in the city while dealing with the petition moved by a purdahnashin Muslim woman alleging that she was forcibly taken by the cops from her residence without her veil and was illegal detained in the police station.
The bench headed by Justice Saurabh Banerjee in the case observed and has directed to preserve the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed by the Delhi government or private residents near the woman’s residence which leads towards the direction of the police station.
In the present case, the court observed and has issued the notice to the plea moved by the woman’s seeking a fair, impartial, and time-bound investigation of the incident, under the direct supervision of the concerned DCP.
The woman claimed before the court that on the intervening night of November 05-06, some police officials of Chandni Mahal police station came to her residence at around 03:00 AM, wherein the court concluded the search and took her without her veil and illegally detained her at the police station where she was allegedly subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, including physical assault.
The court observed that apart from seeking action against the erring cops, she has also sought sensitization of the Delhi Police regarding the sacrosanct religious, social customs and practices of all women who observe Purdah, either as a religious belief or as a part of their personal choice, belonging to any religion, which are guaranteed as stated under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The counsel, Advocate M Sufian Siddiqui appearing for the woman submitted before the court that action of the police officials during night time was in flagrant violation of Section 46(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, CrPC, which explicitly prohibited the arrest of a woman before sunrise and after sunset, unless under exceptional circumstances. It has also been argued by him before the court that even in exceptional cases, the arrest of a woman should be conducted by or in the presence of a woman police officer, with prior permission from a Judicial Magistrate.
The court in the case observed and has issued the notice and has granted four weeks’ time to the Delhi Police for filing the status report on the action taken on the complaints made by the woman last month.
The court in order directed the respondent to preserve the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed inside and around PS.: Chandni Mahal, Central-District, Delhi for the time period from 01:00 AM to 05:00 PM on 06.11.2023 as well as the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed by the GNCTD and/ or private residents near the residence of petitioner’s which leads towards the direction of the PS.: Chandni Mahal, Central-District, Delhi for the time period from 01:00 AM to 06:00 AM on 06.11.2023.
Accordingly, the court listed the matter for further consideration on January 30, 2024.