Delhi: Woman forcibly sent to rehab, court orders probe

The order has been passed in a habeas corpus filed earlier this month by a friend of the detained woman.

THE DELHI High Court has directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the affairs of a Dehradun-based drug rehabilitation centre where a 22-year-old Delhi woman was allegedly detained for at least 22 days on the request of her mother, who objected to her relationship with a married man from a different faith. Delhi Police has also been directed to register an FIR against the centre, its director and others responsible for her illegal detention.

The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar asked the CBI to examine “the complete records, activities and ongoings” at Golden Dream Society Rehabilitation Centre, Dehradun, and register a case, if it is made out, under provisions of law. The possibility of the centre being misused for the purpose of forcibly detaining people on the ground that they require rehabilitation cannot be ruled out, said the court.

The order has been passed in a habeas corpus filed earlier this month by a friend of the detained woman. The court was told the 22-year-old was engaged in a property dispute with her mother and was missing since October 17. Delhi Police, in a status report, told the court on November 9 that she was admitted to a rehabilitation centre as she was addicted to drugs — a claim challenged by her friend, who said it was her brother who was undergoing rehabilitation there once.

The story unfolded on November 12, when the 22-year-old was produced before the court through video-conferencing. Stating that she was not addicted to any substance, the woman told the court she was illegally detained. The rehabilitation centre’s director, Vikas Bisht, conceded before the court she was not suffering from any addiction and does not require rehabilitation. It was also revealed that the centre charged Rs 8,000 from the woman’s mother, who had laid down conditions for her daughter’s release.

After an interaction with the mother, the court came to the conclusion that “her real concern” is that her daughter is “in relation with… a married man with two children”. She told the court he had been “exploiting” the 22-year-old for the past 2.5 years.

The court in the order said it has “counselled” the woman separately and she stated that she “does not wish to have any alliance” with either the man or her mother. The court directed police to ensure her release from the centre, noting that she is a major.

Meanwhile, the HC also took note of Delhi Police’s failure to act on complaints made by the mother at police stations in Bindapur and Shahdara regarding threats issued to her and her son by the man who was allegedly in a relationship with her daughter. “Unfortunately, this is the usual trend… People who come from the poorer strata of the society hardly ever are heard by the police and their complaints remain unactioned,” said the court, as it noted no FIR had been registered and no action had been taken.

Directing the police commissioner to take action “against erring officials”, the HC asked him to ensure that appropriate action is taken on the complaints filed by the mother and that the man does not come to her residence or loiter around the place.


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