Delhi High Court seeks report on rescue operations from brothels

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the government to apprise it of the number of rescue operations carried out in the brothels of the city in the last one-and-half years.

The court also sought to know whether, after the rescue operations, FIRs have been registered against the accused.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Delhi Police to file a status report within four weeks.

The government was also directed by the bench to inform whether the FIRs registered after the rescue operations resulted in investigations, and whether cases were filed in court.

"The Delhi government to inform the court about the number of rescue operations carried out from January 2012 till date. Whether FIRs have been registered in these cases against accused," the bench said in the order.

"Status report to be filed within four weeks. The government will also inform whether these FIRs resulted in investigation and registration of cases in the courts," it added.

The court's direction came as it took suo moto cognisance of a media report on the failure of police to register an FIR on the charge of gang-rape after a teenaged girl was rescued from a brothel.

The media report said not even an FIR was registered in the case.

Advocate Zubeda Begam, who was appointed to assist the court in the case, said "the girl has safely returned to West Bengal, and is staying with her parents".

The news report, appearing in a prominent national daily, said the police had even allowed the alleged culprits, the girl's abductors and brothel owners, to intimidate the victim during her appearance in court.

"Police even did not file the FIR (first information report) on the charge of gang-rape... We want guidelines in this regard," the bench said.

As per the media report, a 19-year-old girl was rescued May 9 by police from a brothel at G.B. Road in central Delhi. Police did not deem it fit to register a case of gang-rape.

"Rather, it allowed her rapists, abductors and brothel owners to intimidate her during her court presence. And while her father had come from South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to take his youngest daughter back, she was sent to Nari Niketan instead," the report said.

On Wednesday, the court also inquired about another girl who was rescued from the brothel. Advocate Zubeda Begam told the court that "the girl belonged to Nepal and her parents could not be traced, so she was sent to Nari Niketan".

To this, the bench asked the counsel to continue the search for her parents. If her parents could not be traced, then the girl could be released to her guardians.

The court asked police to file a status report on this issue too, and posted the matter for Aug 14.

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