The Delhi High Court has taken suo moto cognisance of the case of sexual assault of a minor girl allegedly by suspended Delhi government officer Premoday Khakha. The court has emphasised the need to safeguard the survivor’s identity and directed authorities to ensure her privacy is protected.
Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula, constituting a bench, have initiated a public interest litigation (PIL) based on their own cognizance of the incident.
The court has stressed that the survivor must receive appropriate protection and compensation. The girl is currently admitted to a government hospital in critical condition, according to information provided by the counsel for the Delhi government and police.
In response to the incident, the court has requested the Department of Women and Child Development of the Delhi government, as well as the police and the central authorities, to submit a comprehensive report regarding the matter. The court’s detailed order is expected to be released in due course.
The case is scheduled for further hearing on September 14.
During the court proceedings, the counsel representing the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) noted that they are also aware of the matter. They indicated that certain irregularities in adherence to regulations by authorities have come to their attention, and they plan to submit a report accordingly.
The suspended officer, Premoday Khakha, who is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting the minor girl and causing her pregnancy, was apprehended by the police on August 21 and is currently in judicial custody. His wife, Seema Rani, who allegedly provided medication to terminate the pregnancy, is also in judicial custody.
The alleged incidents took place between November 2020 and January 2021. The victim, a family friend of the accused, had been residing in his house following her father’s demise on October 1, 2020, as stated by the police.
Both Khakha and Rani were arrested after the victim provided her statement before a magistrate at a hospital.
The case has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including section 376(2)(f) (rape by a person in a position of trust) and section 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman). Additionally, the charges include IPC sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 313 (causing miscarriage without the woman’s consent), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
(With PTI inputs)