The petition was filed by advocate ML Sharma on February 13, hours after the top court declined to entertain the plea and urged him to approach the lower court.

Gargi college case: Delhi HC issues notices to Centre, CBI on plea seeking court-monitored probe
File photo of students of Gargi College protesting against the alleged molestation at a cultural festival on campus. | PTI

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the responses of the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation on a plea seeking a court-monitored probe by the agency into the alleged molestation of students at an all-women’s college in the Capital, reported PTI.

On February 6, during the annual cultural festival “Reverie” at Gargi College, hundreds of unruly, drunk men allegedly mobbed the entrances of the college and forced their way in. Students alleged that the group sexually assaulted them while the police looked on.

The petition was filed by advocate ML Sharma on February 13, hours after the Supreme Court declined to entertain the petition and urged him to approach the lower court. When the High Court judges asked him what was the urgency to hear the case, he said that there was apprehension that the evidence could be destroyed and said the Delhi police had done nothing. He said that while the police had registered an FIR on February 9, they did not make any arrest till February 12.

Later, the police arrested 10 youths and were sent to 14 days of judicial custody. However, on Friday, a court in Saket granted them bail on a surety of Rs 10,000 each. Those arrested are students in private and government colleges in the National Capital Region.

Petitioner Sharma had raised concerns that electronic evidence in the case may be destroyed, in the Supreme Court. To this, the top court had said: “Delhi High Court can also pass order like the Telangana High Court in the police encounter case to preserve electronic evidence.” The court was referring to the police encounter in Hyderabad of the four accused of raping and murdering a veterinarian in November. The four were shot dead by the police under controversial circumstances on December 6.

“It is a clear criminal conspiracy hatched by the political party to deploy accused persons to provoke the Delhi public for effecting voting in their favour,” the petition said, according to PTI. “Despite presence of Delhi Police…on February 6, neither principal nor other state authorities tried to stop and arrest the accused persons.”

The petition also claimed that “deliberate chants of Jai Shri Ram” establishes that “it is a political, planned conspiracy” and blamed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not taking any action against the accused.

The incident

On February 6, around 6.30 pm, when the college festival “Reverie” was going on, several unruly and drunk men allegedly forced open the entrance of the gates of the South Delhi college. Students said that despite a pass system, introduced this year for the entry of men, the situation escalated after 3.30 pm, when a crowd of 300 to 400 men pushed through the gates. “The administration also showed its laxity by opening gates from time to time,” the students said in a statement. “The police force and RAF [Rapid Action Force] did nothing to control the situation.”

The students said close to 1,000 men had gathered on campus. “Men stood in gangs, ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up and touched them throughout the concert,” their statement added. The students accused Principal Promila Kumar of making insensitive comments but she claimed to be unaware of the incident. The National Commission for Women has taken note of the alleged sexual assault.