Why Can't Women Walk Freely At Night In Delhi Like Mumbai, Asks Court

"In Mumbai, women can walk freely in night. Why can't it happen in Delhi? Where are things going wrong," a bench of justices G S Sistani and Jyoti Singh said.

Why Can't Women Walk Freely At Night In Delhi Like Mumbai, Asks Court

A Delhi High Court bench observed why can't the city be safe for women like Mumbai. (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Aam Aadmi Party government and Delhi Police to prepare an action plan for making the national capital "crime free for women", observing that why can't the city be safe for them like Mumbai.

It also asked Delhi chief secretary to conduct meetings with all stakeholders.

"In Mumbai, women can walk freely in night. Why can't it happen in Delhi? Where are we going wrong? We have the best resources and officers in Delhi. Where are things going wrong," a bench of justices G S Sistani and Jyoti Singh said.

The bench also pointed out that over Rs 3,000 crore is lying unused in the Nirbhaya Fund, which was announced in 2013 after the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi on December 16, 2012, and was not being used.

"So much in Nirbhaya Fund is lying unused. Prevention is better than cure. Why can't some of this be used for installing CCTVs and streetlights as it will also fulfil the objective of creating the fund," it said.

Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra, also representing Delhi Police, agreed with the court's suggestion and said over Rs 3,000 crore was lying unused in the Nirbhaya fund and he has been saying the same thing for last two years.

"The fund is for prevention and not only for post crime utilisation," he said.

The bench directed all the stakeholders to prepare an action plan on how to make Delhi crime free for women.

It said that if in other parts of the country women can travel freely and safely, why can't Delhi do the same.

"We find no reason as to why women should not feel free to travel in Delhi in day much less in night," the court said.

It also said that a special task force be formed and police officials be given motorcycles so that they can access the dark corners of the locality.

After considering the suggestions given by advocate Meera Bhatia, who was appointed amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, the bench asked the Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure that all street lights are functional, failing which the officer of the concerned area would be held liable and strict action be taken against him.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation initiated by it in 2012 after the December 16, 2012 gang rape of a woman in a moving bus. The woman later died due to the injuries.

The court said since area falling under the jurisdiction of 44 police stations are found to be vulnerable to crime, it directed that manpower be increased there and women police officers in plain clothes be deployed so that the repeat offenders are brought to books.

It asked the police to file an affidavit complying with the court's direction and also to given a monthly report.

The police, in a status report, said out of 182, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed in 179 police stations. Out of 53 police posts, CCTV cameras have been installed in 50 of them and the remaining three have been converted into police stations and rest of the work will complete soon.

It said the probe agency will adhere to the timeline of one year given by it for installing CCTV cameras.

It said 6630 cameras were being installed in 44 vulnerable locations in the city, where crime mainly happens.

The court has been from time to time issuing directions with regard to increasing the number of police officers in the city, installation of CCTV cameras in police stations as well as vulnerable or crime prone areas, reducing delay in testing of samples in forensic science laboratories (FSL) and ensuring speedy disbursal of compensation to victims of sexual assault.

Earlier, it had directed the Delhi government and the police to abide by the respective timelines given by them for filling up vacant posts in FSLs and installing CCTV cameras in police stations. 

More News