The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed a trial court to "reconstruct the records" of a 20-year-old rape case whose judicial and police files are missing.
A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice V.K. Jain also asked the Saket district judge to proceed with the case, in case the matter is not settled between the parties.
"We direct you to reconstruct the records of the case... And in case the matter is not settled, proceed with the case," the bench said while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) in connection with the case. It added that the detailed order would be passed later.
During a brief hearing, advocate Shweta Singh, who filed the PIL, told the court that she spoke to the victim but could not get appropriate answer whether the case was settled or not.
"She (victim) did not remember whether the case was settled or not... She gave me in written, and from that I can understand the case was not settled," Ms Singh told the court and asked it to pass an appropriate order.
Hearing the petition, Justice Murugesan observed: "We are ready to probe the case but our concern is that it will affect her (victim's) present life."
The court had earlier asked the petitioner to try to talk to the victim or her family members to ascertain the facts of settlement.
Police had earlier said the case was disposed of following a settlement between the victim and the accused. The 1993 case ended two years later after an agreement between the two parties, police said.
The court was told that the day after the accused got bail 19 years ago, the case had not moved a step forward, and the files were missing.
Saket district judge had earlier filed a report that said that as per the court register the matter was disposed of on October 18, 1995, but no record has been found in the court.
The petition was filed by Delhi High Court lawyers Shweta Singh and Sarika Mehta.
Shweta Singh told the court that she got to know about the case through a right to information reply.
A 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Delhi's Connaught Place by one Karan Pal in June 1993. Police arrested the accused and charged him formally on September 27, 1993.
However, during proceedings the case file went missing and has not been traced since then.
The accused was released on bail on February 23, 1994.