Shelter home: HC asks Maha to submit report on recommendations



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to submit a report regarding implementation of recommendations made by a family court judge about improving condition of a women's shelter home in suburban Mumbai.

Family court judge Swati Chouhan was appointed by the High Court in November last year to supervise the condition of the 'Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruhan' shelter home in suburban Mankhurd and allegations of sexual and physical assault on the women lodged there.

Chouhan had submitted a 40-page report along with a slew of recommendations to improve the condition of the shelter home in December.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta on Thursday sought to know whether any of the recommendations had been implemented.

Directing the government to submit a progress report to this effect by February 13, the court also asked for recent photographs of the shelter home.

Meanwhile, the city police's crime branch, which is probing the allegations of assault, today informed the court that it had not found any evidence of rape committed on any girl.

"No concrete evidence has been found to prove offence under section 376 (rape) of the IPC. If the crime branch is given copies of the girls' statements recorded by a magistrate as directed by this court, the crime branch would be able to ascertain the names of the alleged culprits and nab them," the lawyer appearing for crime branch told the court.

The lawyer said 23 girls have been repatriated from the shelter home and at present only 34 are lodged there. The statements of 173 witnesses were recorded.

The court was also informed that a psychiatrist was visiting the shelter home once a week to communicate with the girls there.

In her report, Chouhan had said police should avoid conducting "impromptu" mass rescue operation while busting prostitution rackets and that magistrates must verify that no victim woman is detained in such a shelter home for more than three weeks unless a detention order is passed against her.

PTI