The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to explain the delay in taking Manjula Shetye, who died after being allegedly assaulted by six Byculla jail staff on June 23, to a hospital. “This is a custodial death,” said the division bench of justices RM Savant and Sadhana Jadhav. “It is the responsibility of the jail authorities.”

The government has two weeks to submit its response.

One Pradeep Bhalekar had filed a plea with the High Court, seeking an inquiry into Shetye’s assault and subsequent death by an independent agency. The petition also demanded the arrest of the accused on charges of committing unnatural sexual offences, reported The Times of India.

“The affidavit will also have to respond to the petitioner’s request to include Section 377 [in the FIR] against the accused,” the bench held.

The prison authorities had allegedly raped Shetye with a stick, and she had died later at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital. Her post mortem report said she had 11 to 13 bruises, while hospital Dean TP Lahane said her lungs were also damaged. The bench has asked the government to explain the injuries.

Shetye’s death had triggered a prison riot, which jail authorities said former media tycoon and under-trial Indrani Mukerjea had led. A case of rioting was lodged against Mukerjea and 290 other inmates. Later, an eyewitness filed a First Information Report at the Nagpada Police Station.

Justice Jadhav asked, “Why didn’t the jail authorities lodge a case of accidental death?” The bench also questioned the delay in the FIR, reported the Hindustan Times.

The High Court bench also criticised Additional Public Prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh after he argued that an inquiry had been initiated and that six jail officials had been arrested on July 1. “We are not concerned with the ongoing inquiry,” the bench said. “We anyway know how such inquiries are conducted.”