The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the government and police for failing to create a rehabilitation programme for women rescued from brothels.
“We are not very happy with the fact that a girl has returned to the same place that she was rescued from,” noted the court of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru after it was informed that a Nepali girl, rescued from a GB Road brothel in May, had returned to the area after her release from Nari niketan.
Police have also claimed that they had been unable to close brothels in the GB Road area as the Delhi High Court has issued a stay order on the eviction of those living in the area. “We had started closing down brothels under orders from the SDM but the owners approached the High Court which issued a stay order, pending adjudication of the writ petition,” Delhi government Standing Counsel Pawan Sharma said.
Regarding the issue of the Nepali girl, Sharma said police had been unable to trace her family and could not have kept her in the women’s home against her will.
“She is over 18 years of age and so the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate ordered that she be released from the Nirmal Chaya home,” Sharma said. He said court had taken suo motu cognisance of the issue of safety of the girls rescued from brothels, after media reports that the girl had been threatened by the brothel owners during a hearing before the magistrate’s court soon after her rescue.
The court had directed the police to trace her family and return her to them. The girl was rescued in a raid conducted by police along with the NGO Shakti Vahini. However, police told the court that her family could not be traced. The court is presently monitoring the issue of women rescued from brothels.
The Delhi Police also submitted a status report on the number of rescue operations made since January 2012, and claimed that they had rescued over 40 women in 2012 and 15 so far in 2013.
Advocate Ravi Kant, representing Shakti Vahini, said there was “no convergence between the different agencies” to create rehabilitation schemes for sex workers.
“The Supreme Court had formed a panel to create rehabilitation programme but the state-level committee, created by the Delhi government, has not met till date. This is complete travesty of justice,” he said.
The court has now asked the NGO and the government to submit affidavits on what steps can be taken to resolve the issue.