In a late evening sitting at his residence on Sunday, Allahabad high court Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker took suo motu cognisance of the attack on a woman constable in a train and ordered notices to be served to the Centre and the Railway Protection Force.
On Monday, a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Diwaker and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava pulled up the RPF for "failing in discharge of its duties" and directed the Government Railway Police to produce a progress report on its inquiry in the case before the court on September 13.
The chief justice, who received a WhatsApp message about the case, heard the matter at his residence at 8 pm on Sunday and gave directions to constitute a bench comprising himself and Justice Srivastava.
The woman constable was found in a "pool of blood" with injuries on her face inside a compartment of Saryu Express on August 30, the GRP said.
Later, the police said that she was admitted to a hospital in Lucknow where her condition is stable.
Based on a written complaint by the brother of the constable, an FIR under Sections 332 (voluntarily causing harm in order to deter a public servant from doing his/her duties), 353 (assault or criminal force done to deter a public servant from discharge of duty) and 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC was lodged on August 30, the GRP said.
During the hearing on Monday, Puja Yadav, superintendent of police (GRP), Lucknow, along with deputy SP (GRP), was present in the court.
Yadav told the court that the victim's statement under Section 164 of CrPC could not be recorded as she is not in a position to give a statement.
The GRP SP said that no sign of rape of the woman constable of the Uttar Pradesh police posted in Sultanpur has been found till now.
The only injuries are on her head and face, she said.
However, on a question put up by the court that how the incident occurred and what was the time of incident, the SP could not reply properly.
She said that the incident might have taken place in between Ayodhya and Mankapur stations.
On Monday, the government lawyer attended the court's proceeding on the day lawyers boycotted court work over Hapur incident of the police lathi-charge on agitating advocates.
"The present incident clearly shows the utter violation of the certain provisions of the Indian Railways Act. Moreover, the Railway Protection Force have also completely failed in discharge of their duties and responsibilities in giving effect to the rules and regulations formulated for the protection of passengers. The present incident is not only a crime against women, but against the entire society and the same destroys the entire psychology of women," the court said.
"Looking at the seriousness of the matter, this court thinks it appropriate to direct the office to register this letter as a public interest litigation (criminal). Issue notice to Union of India through its secretary, ministry of Railways/Railway Board, New Delhi, director general of Railway Protection Force, state of Uttar Pradesh through its secretary, ministry of home and state commission for women, Uttar Pradesh," the court ruled.
During the hearing, the court was informed that according to media reports, the incident came to light when some passengers boarded Saryu Express from Ayodhya Junction at about 4 am on August 30.
It was further submitted by the GRP that the woman constable was found in a deplorable state, in a pool of blood, unable to move herself with a deep cut on her face.
A senior police official told PTI, "The 47-year-old woman head constable, who hails from Soraon in Prayagraj district, was posted in Sultanpur district."
When asked about the attacker/attackers, the official said that investigation in this case is on, and added that she got injuries on head and above neck.
"She was coming from Sultanpur to Ayodhya on 'Saavan Mela' duty. She was supposed to deboard at Ayodhya, but reached Mankapur as she had slept in the train. The incident took place between Ayodhya and Mankapur," he said.
Meanwhile, top officials of Uttar Pradesh Police visited the injured woman constable admitted at the King George's Medical University in Lucknow.
Director general of police Vijay Kumar and Special DG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar separately visited the KGMU, officials said, adding principal secretary (home) Sanjay Prasad also accompanied the special DG to the trauma centre of KGMU.
Prashant Kumar, in a video shared by the UP police, said senior officials reached the spot as soon as they got the information about the incident.
"The woman's condition was serious (when the incident came to light) and she was shifted to KGMU after initial treatment. Now, her condition is stable and improving continuously. As soon as she is in a condition to speak, we will record her statement," he said.
"Doctors said that she is out of danger," he said.
"Forensic evidence is being collected. Evidence of sexual assault or sexual offence has not emerged in the investigation. However, each and every aspect is being examined," the special DG added.
He also said that the directives of the high court would be followed by the police department and the railways to proceed with the case.
In another video shared by the UP Police, Prashant Kumar was heard saying to the woman constable "not to feel worried".