Delhi HC seeks cops’ reply on plea to quash FIR against Swati Maliwal

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday asked the police to reply to a plea by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) for quashing of an FIR lodged against its chief Swati Maliwal for allegedly revealing the identity of a 14-year-old Dalit rape victim who had succumbed to her injuries.

Justice A K Pathak also asked the police to respond to the plea which has urged it to form a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to investigate the case, while criticising the way Delhi Police has been handling the matter. During the hearing, the bench asked senior advocate R S Cheema, appearing for DCW, as to how the Commission could approach the court for quashing of an FIR lodged against its chief.

“How can the DCW file the petition for quashing of an FIR. The FIR was lodged against an individual, who should have moved the court in individual capacity. She (Maliwal) should have filed a separate petition. How can she file through the Commission,” the judge asked.

Maintaining that they had rightly filed the petition, the counsel submitted that the FIR was wrongly lodged as under the law the name of rape victim, who was a minor, could be disclosed with the consent of the parents and in this case, the consent was obtained from the girl’s family members. The court fixed the matter for November 8.

The minor girl had died in hospital after a neighbour raped her repeatedly in North Delhi’s Burari area on July 23 and forced a corrosive substance down her throat which damaged her internal organs.

Delhi Police had said Maliwal circulated a notice she had sent to the area Deputy Commissioner of Police, in which she had asked how investigators were handling the rape case. The notice handed out to print and electronic journalists had the name of the victim.

The FIR alleged that the notice was intentionally circulated on various WhatsApp groups and shown by TV channels. A news channel had held the notice before the camera during a prime-time programme aired on July 25, it added. “To divulge the name of the rape victim is an offence,” the police had said.