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Rohini Ashram Case: Delhi High Court Seeks Kiran Bedi's Assistance

Nupur Thapliyal
3 Oct 2022 12:20 PM GMT
Rohini Ashram Case: Delhi High Court Seeks Kiran Bedis Assistance
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The Delhi High Court has sought assistance of the retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi in a plea related to the living conditions of women at Adhyatmik Vidyalaya, a Rohini-based ashram founded by the self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dixit, who is a proclaimed offender in a sexual exploitation case.

The court in April had asked Bedi, the former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, to supervise a committee constituted by it for the welfare of Vidyalaya's women inmates. The committee was also asked to assess their physical and mental health. Additional Sessions Judge, North-West Rohini is the Chairperson of the Committee.

Noting that Bedi has already consented to supervise the committee, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad in the order dated September 22 noted that she may not be aware about the listing of the matter.

Accordingly, the court directed the Registrar General of the High Court to inform her about the next date of hearing, October 7.

The counsel appearing for Delhi Commission for Women also undertook to inform Bedi about the same.

"Ms. Kiran Bedi is requested to assist this Court in the matter on the next date of hearing," the bench said in its order.

The court also took on record a report prepared by the committee and also directed that a copy of the same be furnished to all the parties to enable them to comply with the directions or recommendations "in the larger interest of the Adhyatmik Vidyalaya".

Earlier, the court had ordered that the Committee shall be provided access by the ashram to inspect the premises and to interact with inmates freely, on a regular basis.

Moreover, the court had also said that the committee shall be free to take assistance of medical doctors, psychiatrists and other experts to make an assessment of the physical and mental well being of the inmates.

Previously, the bench had observed that women and children are a vulnerable class and therefore, some vigilance is required to keep a check on the functioning of such institutions.

At the same time, it clarified that the institution shall be free to pursue its religious and spiritual activities, provided none of them infringe any fundamental rights or other rights of any inmate or any other person.

The High Court in 2017 had ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the alleged illegal confinement of women and minors in the ashram after hearing a PIL filed by an NGO.

Case Title: DUMPALA MEENAVATHI AND ANR. v. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS.

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