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Maid rescue: Employer denied bail, to be counselled in jail

Meets MotherPUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: A 50-year-old woman, arrested for allegedly assaulting and illegally confining a maid in her house here, was today denied bail by a Delhi court which said a legislation for regulating placement agencies through which domestic help is recruited is “much needed”.

 Metropolitan magistrate Gomati Manocha dismissed the bail plea of accused Vandana Dhir and said it seems she is “suffering from some kind of a personality disorder” and the facts of the case demonstrate “very sick and problematic mental state of the accused.”

The court directed the jail authorities to provide “psycho analysis therapy and counselling” to Dhir, who is at present in judicial custody.

Dhir and placement agent Dorothy have been arrested in connection with the case lodged under various sections of the IPC, the Bonded Labour Act, the SC/ST Act and under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act.

Both are at present in judicial custody. While denying bail to Dhir, the magistrate observed, “The placement agencies existing today have become havens of exploitation and are unable to ensure the well being of the work force employed through them and many of these young boys and girls become the subject of physical and sexual abuse.

“…To bring about a positive change so that such incidents do not recur and also to protect basic human right of this large but marginalised and exploited work force, a legislation is much needed requiring mandatory registration of placement agencies, payment of minimum wages to workers, decent living conditions and diet, security and protection against physical or sexual abuse or exploitation.”

The court also directed that the copy of its order be sent to secretary, ministry of law and justice, government of India and also to the secretary of department of law, justice and legal affairs of Delhi government for consideration.

The magistrate, in her order, also observed that the legislation should ensure that no minors are employed as domestic maids.

“Thus, rather than curbing such employment opportunities altogether, these is a dire necessity of a legislation regulating functioning of these placement agencies and of an institutionalised system protecting the interests of both the employers and the employees. This shall also ensure that no underage (minor) boys and girls get employed as domestic helps,” the court observed.

Regarding Dhir, who was working with a multinational firm in Noida, the court said, “She has exhibited through her actions such monstrosity incapable of being explained as a conduct of a normal human being.”

“She seems to be suffering from some kind of a personality disorder which leads to impulsive reactions, rage, resentment, aggression and venting it out on a weak and helpless target.

“Sooner or later, the accused would come out of the jail. But before that, it is necessary that she receives proper psychological help so that when she comes out, she is emotionally more stable,” it said.

The court, while dismissing Dhir’s bail plea, lend credence to the statement of the victim recorded by a magistrate in which she had narrated the alleged torture meted out to her Dhir.

It also rejected the submissions of Dhir’s counsel that the girl was mentally unsound and said the statement given by the girl before the magistrate and the statement of the doctor, who had earlier treated the girl, strengthen the prosecution’s case.

“The investigation done so far only supports the version of the victim. The version of the accused that the victim is mentally unsound or that the injuries on her person are self inflicted has been completely demolished by the statement of the doctor under section 161 CrPC (recording of statement by police),” the magistrate said.

The court also said that Dhir deserved no leniency as she had allegedly treated the girl in a “gruesome and dastardly manner.”

“Further the position of the victim is socially and economically very weak and vulnerable as compared to that of the accused. Thus it is important to rule out any chance of tampering with the evidence or of influencing the witnesses by the accused,” it said.

Earlier, the court had directed the police to probe the condition of other girls who could have been employed through the placement agency run by co-accused Dorothy.

The victim, a resident of Jharkhand, was rescued from Dhir’s Vasant Kunj home where she had been working as a domestic help and was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with injuries.

The girl was rescued by a joint team of NGO Shakti Vahini and Delhi Police from Dhir’s residence on the evening of September 30.

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