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How Can A Self Proclaimed Priest Be Permitted To Sit At Temple? Delhi High Court Seeks Status Report In Woman's Plea Seeking CBI Investigation

Nupur Thapliyal
2 May 2022 11:00 AM GMT
How Can A Self Proclaimed Priest Be Permitted To Sit At Temple? Delhi High Court Seeks Status Report In Womans Plea Seeking CBI Investigation
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The Delhi High Court has recently sought a status report in a plea filed by a woman seeking transfer of investigation to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding an FIR registered against a self proclaimed godman for allegedly trapping and sexually abusing various woman. The Petitioner alleged that the police was trying to deliberately shield the accused by giving him...

The Delhi High Court has recently sought a status report in a plea filed by a woman seeking transfer of investigation to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding an FIR registered against a self proclaimed godman for allegedly trapping and sexually abusing various woman. The Petitioner alleged that the police was trying to deliberately shield the accused by giving him undue benefits.

Justice Jasmeet Singh directed the State to file a detailed status report indicating the action taken on the complaint of the petitioner, as to whether the CCTV footage was seized and that whether any further steps were taken on the basis of the complaint.

"The status report will also indicate as to how a self proclaimed priest can be permitted to sit at a temple and also the CCTV footage of mandir dated 14.01.2022 and 27.03.2022 and P.S. Hari Nagar dated 27.03.2022 shall be produced," the Court ordered.

It was the case of the petitioner that the Accused namely Amit Saxena alias Bhagat ji was purportedly the self-proclaimed priest of Maa Santoshi Mata Mandir and was known by the name of Mata, where he assumed the spirit of Santoshi Mata on the pre-scheduled days of darshan and also charged donations.

It was alleged that the Accused was one of the biggest self-proclaimed religious gurus in the city, having thousands of followers including various powerful people in the society.

It was the case of the petitioner that in January this year, believing that the accused would help her through the tough times, the petitioner bent down to touch his feet as per his commands, when he started touching her inappropriately and physically abused her. It was also alleged that she was threatened that if she did not submit to the commands of the accused, she would be killed.

It was therefore the petitioner's case that when she had immediately gone to lodge a complaint against the Accused and his aides in the Hari Nagar police station, almost as many as 100 people gathered to intimidate her from not filing the Complaint and started manhandling her before the police officials. The petitioner avers that the said incident can also be cross verified from the CCTVs installed in the subject police station.

The petitioner also argues that when she had again approached the SHO, he had refused to register an FIR on the basis of the Complaint in complete contravention to the standard operating procedure and the guidelines laid down in this regard.

Since the concerned police station was not registering an FIR, the Petition submits that the victim had made representations to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lt. Governor of Delhi and the National Commission of Woman. It was only thereafter that the concerned police station finally registered the FIR under sec. 323, 354, 506 and 34 of the I.P.C. on March 28, 2022.

However, it is the petitioner's case that despite the clear and specific averment in the Complaint regarding the role of the Accused, the FIR did not name the him.

In this backdrop, the plea avers thus:

"…the Petitioner has learnt that many other girls have also been subjected to similar acts of sexual violence and much more gruesome, even to the extent of rape. However, the same have not reported the crimes to their parents, law enforcement mechanisms or the courts due to the fear of the main accused and his influence in the society. The said victims are extremely scared of their safety and security and are under constant fear of attack, in view of the fact that the Hari Nagar P.S. is completely under the influence of a self-proclaimed religious guru. Hence, in these circumstances, it becomes extremely important to transfer investigation to instil confidence in the public mind and to ensure 'a fair, honest and complete investigation', and particularly, when it is imperative to retain public confidence in the impartial working of the State agencies."

While issuing notice on the plea, the Court directed the SHO of Hari Nagar police station to collect, safeguard and produce CCTV of Maa Santoshi Mata Mandir of January 14 and March 27, 2021.

"For the security of the petitioner, who alleges fear and threat to her life, it is directed that the SHO Hari Nagar shall provide mobile number of the beat constable and to ensure that as and when a complaint," the Court added.

The matter will now be heard on May 20.

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra along with Advocates Ilam Paridi, Shradha Agrawal and Apoorva Maheshwari appeared for the petitioner. 

Case Title: MS. X v. STATE NCT OF DELHI AND ORS

Click Here To Read Order 


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