The Delhi High Court today said that no one, other than the concerned authorities, shall be allowed to meet the visually impaired kids who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a British national at the National Association for the Blind (NAB) here. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction after it was informed by the Delhi Police that the blind home was facing difficulty on due to "aggressive efforts" for intervention by NGOs and the media personnel seeking to interview the victims. Raising serious concern, the bench issued a direction to the authorities of the blind school that no person other than them should be allowed to meet or enter the premises. "The authorised representatives of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, the Department of Social Welfare shall be permitted to interact with the children," the bench said. It said that unauthorised interaction "would not only be prejudicial to the interest of the victims but may also jeopardise and adversely affect the fate of the investigation and the ultimate trial of the case.
No statements shall be recorded other than those who are permitted under the CrPC," it added. The bench directed the SHO to ensure compliance with the directions made by the court. "Any violation of this order by any person or authority shall be strictly viewed by this court and strict action shall be taken in accordance with Contempt of Courts Act," it warned. The court was hearing a plea by a social worker Prashant Kumar, who has highlighted the absence of due care and a framework for appointment of personnel and volunteers at the special home for visually-impaired minor inmates. The petitioner urged the court to issue order to formulate regulation for volunteers and donors who visit the special schools. Acting on it, the bench on September 8 had sought the response of the police with regard to the progress in connection with the arrest of 54-year-old Murray Dennis Ward, who has been remanded to judicial custody in a case of alleged sexual assault on three visually-impaired minor inmates of the special home. Responding to the court's order, Delhi police standing counsel Rahul Mehra, informed the court that the victims had recorded their statement before the court and police as well. He said an FIR under various section of the IPC including unnatural offences was registered against the accused and he was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Mehra further informed the court that during the probe in the case, mobile phone of the accused was analysed which shows objectionable WhatsApp conversation with around 35 others over the phone. The court has mow listed the matter for September 21. Besides the police, DSLSA's Member Secretary, Sanjeev Jain, informed the court that proper protection has been given to the victims and also other children at NAB. "District Legal Services Authority is in process to move an application before the concerned POCSO court for granting compensation to the victims. The compensation would be disbursed on urgent basis to the victims after completing necessary formalities," he said. The bench observed that it should not be only for this case, but in all other cases also. "We want to ensure that these people are given assistance at earlies," it said, adding that DSLSA shall forthwith ensure provision of legal aid to the present victims as well as release the compensation to them under Victim Compensation Scheme.
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