A doctor couple, who had gone on a vacation to Thailand, allegedly leaving their 13-year-old maid locked-up and starving in their flat at Dwarka in South West Delhi, was on Tuesday denied anticipatory bail by a court in Delhi.
“Anticipatory bail plea dismissed,” Additional District Judge I.S. Mehta said, declining the relief to Dr. Sanjay Verma and his wife Sumita, against whom look-out notices were issued on April 2, 2012 by the Delhi Police. The anticipatory bail plea made on behalf of the couple, wanted by the police for allegedly employing a child below 14 years of age and exploiting her, contended that the section 26 (exploitation of juvenile or child employee) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, is not applicable to them.
Appearing for the doctor couple, their counsel told the court that his clients were to return to India on March 31, 2012. A.K. Singh, counsel for Shakti Vahini, a child rights society, which was first informed about the underage domestic aide’s plight and which took up the matter with police, sought to refute the missing doctor couple’s submission. Mr. Singh said the doctor couple has already arrived in Delhi. He sided with the prosecution counsel in opposing the couple’s anticipatory bail plea saying the couple had locked up the minor maid inside their Dwarka flat and left for Bangkok with their daughter on March 25, 2012.
He said the girl could be rescued five days later on March 30, 2012 only after neighbours saw her crying in the flat’s balcony. The girl, who hails from Jharkhand, was taken to the DDU Hospital where doctors said she was on the verge of starvation. The doctor couple had left for Thailand after locking her up and leaving food and water that lasted only for two days, the police had alleged. The police had lodged an FIR against them under the Juvenile Justice Act, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act and section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC.
The girl had also complained to Child Welfare Committee that she was beaten up by the couple for mistakes and was not paid for her services.