Delhi HC stays proceedings against DCW chief Maliwal

Delhi HC stays proceedings against DCW chief Maliwal
Delhi HC stays proceedings against DCW chief Maliwal

The Delhi High Court today stayed the proceedings against Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal in a case of allegedly disclosing the identity of a 14-year-old Dalit rape victim who had succumbed to injuries.

Justice Ashutosh Kumar granted the interim relief to Maliwal who was summoned by the trial court to appear before it on October 23 in the case.

The court asked the Delhi Police, represented through standing counsel Richa Kapoor, to file a status report in the matter and listed it for hearing on December 19.

Senior advocate R S Cheema, appearing for the DCW, said that the commission had earlier issued notice to the police asking reasons for not arresting the accused and the botched probe in the matter after which the accused was arrested.

“However, exhibiting an instance of flagrant abuse of power, the police lodged an FIR under the IPC against the DCW chairperson on frivolous allegations that under authority of the chairperson, its functionaries had sent the copy of the notice of July 22, 2016 on a WhatsApp group of DCW and media persons, thereby revealing the name of the victim,” he argued.

The police had earlier told the high court that they have invoked provisions of Juvenile Justice Act against Maliwal.

It had said that it has dropped the charge of disclosure of identity of the victim against Maliwal under the IPC but the case under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act still stands.

It said that the victim’s parents had stated that they had given consent to disclose the name of their daughter after which the IPC provision was dropped. It, however, said that making public the name of a rape victim is an offence.

The DCW counsel had sought a court-monitored probe in the matter, saying the minor had died after the incident but the police have still not invoked murder charge in the FIR.

A charge sheet was earlier filed in the trial court after which Maliwal was summoned.

The court was hearing a plea by the DCW for quashing the FIR lodged against its chief for allegedly revealing the identity of the minor rape victim.

The court had questioned the DCW counsel as to how the commission could move the court for quashing of the FIR lodged against its chief.

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

The police had said Maliwal circulated a notice she had sent to the area deputy commissioner of police, in which she had sought to know about the investigation in the rape case.

The notice, which was given to the print and electronic media, had the name of the victim.

The FIR has 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 has said.

( Source – PTI )

Probe on in DCW recruitment case: ACB to court

Probe on in DCW recruitment case: ACB to court
Probe on in DCW recruitment case: ACB to court

The Anti-Corruption Branch today told a special court that further probe in a case involving Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal for alleged irregularities in the recruitment process is going on.

The investigating officer (IO) said further investigation, as directed by the court earlier, was underway and sought time to complete the probe.

Special Judge Hemani Malhotra granted time to the probe agency and fixed the matter for May 5 for further hearing.

Maliwal, who was earlier granted bail by the court in the matter, was also present at the hearing and sought copies of deficient documents supplied with the charge sheet.

The court also directed the IO to provide copies of documents to the AAP leader.

Maliwal was summoned as accused by the court on January 18 after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by ACB.

The court, however, had said the probe has not identified Maliwal’s associates with whose connivance “illegal practices were adopted” and directed the police to probe their role and file supplementary charge sheet against them.

The charge sheet was filed by ACB on December 21, 2016 against Maliwal in connection with alleged irregularities in appointment of AAP workers in DCW.

The ACB had taken up the probe on a complaint by former DCW chief Barkha Shukla Singh, who had alleged that several AAP supporters were given plum posts in the women’s panel.

Singh, an ex–MLA, had filed the complaint against Maliwal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on August 11, 2016, alleging that many illegal practices were adopted by them to financially benefit aides and associates of Aam Aadmi Party at the cost of public exchequer.

A case was lodged against Maliwal on September 19 last year for alleged offences of cheating and criminal breach of trust by public servant under IPC and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

ACB had said during probe, it was found that Maliwal, in connivance with others has allegedly abused her official position and deliberately ignored the procedure laid down rules to employ associates or AAP workers beyond the authorised sanctioned strength of 26 posts, causing unauthorised benefits to them at the cost of public exchequer.

It was also found during the investigation that the appointments were made without inviting any applications by way of publication or constituting a selection board.

According to the prosecution, the probe revealed that the remuneration amount was hiked in a whimsical manner thereby granting undue pecuniary benefits to the close associates of Maliwal and those connected to AAP.

( Source – PTI )

Should rape crisis cell be shut down: Delhi HC asks LG

Should rape crisis cell be shut down: Delhi HC asks LG
Should rape crisis cell be shut down: Delhi HC asks LG

Delhi High Court today asked the office of Lieutenant Governor to clearly state whether the rape crisis and other cells, run on court orders by Delhi Commission for Women, should be shut down over alleged illegal appointment of staff by the women’s panel.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also asked the LG’s office to make its stand clear on whether all appointments made by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) were illegal or only some of them.

The court sought clarification on whether the LG’s office intended to make fresh appointments to run these cells and asked the Centre’s standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the LG, to take instructions on these issues.

The matter was listed for further hearing on February nine.

The clarifications were sought after LG’s office in an affidavit claimed that DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal had “no power or authority to arbitrarily, unilaterally,unauthorisedly engage or appoint employees” in DCW and should have approached the competent authority if more manpower was needed.

Maliwal is an accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of the DCW and a trial court has directed Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi government to further probe and identify her associates in the crime.

Meanwhile, advocate Rajshekhar Rao, appearing for DCW, said since the cells have budget sanction till March 31, 2017, the workers should be allowed to be paid till then. He also asked Delhi government to consider DCW’s staffing requests.

The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Amita Singh Kalkal, on behalf of 97 employees of DCW, for a direction to the commission to disburse the salaries of these individuals who have not been paid since September last year.

It had in December last year directed DCW to disburse 50 per cent arrears of salary to its 62 workers and then on January 18, 2017, the relief was extended to 35 others who had moved the court, subsequently. It had also directed the commission to provide records of the staff appointed without approval of the LG.

The petitioners have claimed that with their help, DCW has dealt with 11,696 complaints since July 2015 and in view of the work being done by the commission with their help, Delhi government transferred 181 helpline programmes to them.

( Source – PTI )

Complaint against Kumar Vishwas closed before DCW

Complaint against Kumar Vishwas closed before DCW
Complaint against Kumar Vishwas closed before DCW

The proceedings on a complaint against AAP leader Kumar Vishwas by a party volunteer alleging that her life was ruined as he was not rebutting “rumours” about their illicit liaison, have been closed by the Delhi women’s panel, its chief told Delhi High Court today.

Justice V P Vaish was told by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Barkha Singh’s counsel that “there are no proceedings pending in the case” before the body.

The DCW counsel further said that as the probe against Vishwas was closed on June 23, the present petition becomes “infructuous”.

The court, which was hearing a plea by Vishwas seeking stay on the summons issued to him by DCW, however, directed the Chairperson’s counsel to file a “detailed report within two weeks with regard to the oral submissions made by the advocate”.

The Chairperson’s response came in pursuance to the notice issued by the high court to her on May 22, as well as the DCW and the woman complainant.

Meanwhile, the court issued fresh notice to the complainant after it was informed that notice was not served upon her as she was not residing at the given address.

“Delhi High Court Registry will serve the summons to the complainant by hand, at the new address provided,” the court said and listed the matter for August 7.

The court was likely to dispose of the case as the proceedings were dropped against Vishwas but the same could not be done as Somnath Bharti, counsel for the AAP leader, sought a direction to restrain DCW chief from holding a press conference on the issue.

Bharti also contended that a stricture must be passed against the DCW and its Chairperson for misuse of office for political purposes and urged the court that a word of caution be issued that this forum (DCW) should not be misused.

To this, the counsel for DCW Chairperson said that her right cannot be curtailed. However, she said she would seek instruction on the issue raised by Bharti.

Bharti opposed the panel chief’s request saying that Barkha Singh was retiring on July 18 and hence her counsel was seeking time.

On May 22, the high court had refused to stay the DCW’s summons to Kumar Vishwas and issued notices to its chairperson and the woman Aam Aadmi Party volunteer on the party leader’s plea.

The court, while declining Vishwas’s prayer to stay the summons, had said let the respondents reply to them and think over it later. It had fixed the matter for hearing today.

On May 15 too, the court had refused to give any interim relief to Vishwas on his plea challenging the summons issued to him.

The court was of the view that there was a “defect” in the plea and had said that the AAP volunteer should have been made a party in the case as it was on her complaint that summons were issued.

Questioning the authority of DCW to issue such summons claiming it had no jurisdiction to deal with the issue raised by the complainant, Vishwas had also sought that the woman be restrained from making any public statement.

The Commission had first asked Vishwas, his wife and two others to appear before it on May 4 and later issued fresh summons for May 6 after they failed to appear.

Acting on the woman’s complaint, the Commission had said that the volunteer had worked for the party for a year in Amethi and now it was a matter of her respect and honour. So Kumar Vishwas should turn up and give his clarification.

The woman had said she had campaigned alongside Vishwas, who was pitted against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi during 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

She had received a message on social media, first on Facebook and later WhatsApp, showing her picture as the female volunteer Vishwas was accused of having illicit relationship with.

Demanding that Vishwas’s wife should come forward and give an explanation, the woman had said she had filed a complaint at Nand Nagri Police Station here on March 29. However, the police did not pay heed to her complaint, she had claimed.