CHANDAN PRAKASH SINGH
New Delhi, 25 December
Lawyers and activists have accused the Delhi Police of double standards for registering an FIR of rape against NGO director Khurshid Anwar after being approached by the National Commission for Women and without recording the victim’s statement but not taking action in the sexual assault allegation case against retired Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly as the victim is yet to record her statement.
On 17 December, Vasant Kunj (north) police station registered a case of rape and drugging against Khirshid Anwar (55), who committed suicide the next day by jumping off the third floor of his house in Vasant Kunj area. Delhi Police had lodged an FIR without recording the alleged victim’s statement who was then in Manipur. The cops flew to Manipur two days after Anwar’s suicide and got the statement recorded.
On the other hand, in the Justice Ganguly case where he has been accused of sexually harassing a law intern in a hotel, Delhi Police have chosen to wait for the victim to make a statement first before initiating a process to lodge an FIR. This has drawn sharp criticism.
According to the senior NCW member, Ms Charu Walikhanna, the Delhi Police&’s double standard has been exposed by its selective approach in dealing with two sexual harassment cases in the Capital.
Ms Walikhanna said the NCW has already written to the Delhi police to register a case in the law intern case but they have not done anything so far. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chief Justice of India.
She said the NCW forwarded the complaint of an NGO in Anwar&’s case to the police and they immediately took action. Although the two cases are different as Anwar was accused of rape while Ganguly is accused of sexual harassment, action should have been taken immediately in the two cases, Ms Walikhanna said.
Ironically, in Anwar&’s case, the alleged victim did not lodge a complaint with either the NCW or police.
"We are also planning to send a reminder letter to the Delhi Police in the Justice Ganguly case as they have not stepped ahead in filing a case," said Ms Walikhanna.
Mr Kislay Panday, Supreme Court advocate and group head of Managium Juris, said the Delhi Police should have registered a case against Justice Ganguly.
"As per section 154 CrPC, a police officer is bound to register an FIR when a cognisable offence is made out against any one. However, in the Justice Ganguly case, he cannot be arrested before initiating an impeachment as he is holding a constitutional post," said Mr Panday.
A senior Delhi Police officer told The Statesman said the police cannot lodge an FIR against Justice Ganguly unless the victim gets her statement recorded with the agency. The entire case now depends on the victim’s version and a probe cannot be started on the basis of an NCW complaint, he said.
Asked why they immediately took cognizance of the NCW complaint in Anwar&’s case and registered an FIR before recording the statement of the complainant, he failed to explain the contradiction and admitted that it was a mistake to register a case against Anwar without recording the girl&’s statement.