Expressing shock, the Bombay High Court recently ordered the Mumbai Police to trace an alleged rape victim, a minor, who lives on one of the platforms of suburban Andheri railway station. The HC slammed the city police for failing to ensure the girl is traced and protected and shifted to some rehabilitation center.
A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre said the police must be aware of the provisions of the Constitution of India, especially, the directive principles that provide for "protection of youth from any kind of exploitation."
The bench was seized with a bail plea filed by a man booked for raping the minor girl, in a moving autorickshaw.
As per the prosecution case, the girl, who lives on Andheri station's platform was acquainted to an autorickshaw driver, who allegedly raped her along with his brother, who had petitioned Justice Dangre's bench for bail.
The girl claimed that she was given beer and food by the men and later raped. The man, who sought bail, was caught red handed while sexually assaulting the victim in a moving rickshaw.
The rickshaw was intercepted by a motorist, who heard the girl's cries when the rickshaw stopped near a traffic signal.
In his defence the man claimed that the girl was actively involved in flesh trade and had even aborted a foetus earlier.
Having heard the contentions, Justice Dangre said, "Some strange things have surfaced, which surely calls for an introspection of all the stakeholders dealing with issues of women, particularly minor girls."
During the hearing, the bench sought to know from the investigating officer regarding the whereabouts of the victim.
At this, the officer present in courtroom, told the judge that the victim continues to live on the platform.
"It is surprising, rather shocking to note that a girl, who had met with a sexual assault and ravage is left on a railway platform in such a manner,"Justice Dangre said.
"There are legislations, which mandate the state in consonance with the imperative mandate contained in the directive principles of state policy, to ensure that the youth is not exploited," the judge observed.
The bench further noted that the investigating officer seems to be unaware of any of the provisions of the law.
"This would have ensured the girl to be taken to some rehabilitation center," the judge said, adding, "It is expected that at least now, some corrective steps be taken to trace the victim girl and take necessary steps."
The bench while adjourning the matter for further hearing till April 15, ordered the cops to conduct an ossification test to ascertain the probable age of the victim since there is no evidence to prove her as a minor.