The Delhi High Court has initiated suo motu proceedings concerning security lapses at college festivals. It has called upon authorities ,demanding action after multiple female Delhi University students reported that they were filmed secretly while changing in a restroom of IIT-Delhi during a fashion show at the institute’s fest.
A bench led by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, in a recent decision, emphasised the need for effective security measures to ensure that students can participate in such events without the looming threat of such acts of violation.
In February 2020, a similar incident happened when girl students of Gargi College for women of Delhi University were sexually harassed during a cultural event. The court which has dealt with this incident, observed with regret that it has had to deal with multiple instances of sexual harassment of female students during such festivals.
Rising Incidents Of Security Lapses Of Female Students
The court expressed concern about the repeated occurrences of such incidents and criticised the inadequate efforts on the side of festival organisers and authorities in failing to implement protective measures to ensure the safety of students participating or attending these events.
The bench which includes Justice Sanjeev Narula, hence decided to take suo motu cognisance of security breaches, especially those affecting female attendees, at festivals organised by colleges and universities in the Delhi-NCR region in light of the previously mentioned incident.
The court also issued notices to IIT-Delhi, IP University and Delhi University and asked them to submit a report. The report should consist of existing policy qua security measures during college fests held at the premises of these universities.
The court also directed the police to file a status report in which the action taken against the accused has to be stated. The report has to be submitted in two weeks, according to the court orders.
The court stated that the incident has left the female participants in distress and sparked worries about the potential misuse of the videos that were recorded secretly. The accused could have uploaded the videos on social media platforms. The court recognised the sensitivity of the matter and emphasised the need for swift and decisive action.
The court also issued notices to both the Delhi government and the Delhi Police regarding the case. It was revealed that a case has already been filed under Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code, addressing voyeurism and the accused is presently in judicial custody.
Additionally, the court instructed the Investigating Officer to conduct the investigation with the utmost discretion and ensure the protection of the identities of the women involved.
The court also stated to take swift actions to prevent the dissemination of photographs and videos taken by the accused. In case such content is circulated on any social media platforms, the Deputy Commissioner of Police responsible and the Investigating Officer were instructed to take immediate legal measures to remove them.
The next hearing in this matter is scheduled for November 10.
Approximately 10 students from Delhi University’s Bharti College recently came forward with allegations of being secretly filmed while changing in an IIT-Delhi restroom during a fashion show at the institute’s Rendezvous festival on October 6. These students, through a video shared on social media, claimed that the administration had not taken action against the accused even after being informed.
A formal complaint regarding the incident was lodged at the Kishangarh police station, leading to the arrest of the 20-year-old contractual cleaner believed to be responsible, according to the police.