Parents accused of trying to declare girl ‘mentally ill

The woman, 23, was allegedly forcibly taken away by her parents — for providing treatment for her “mental disorder” — from the residence of her music teacher.

Written by Manish Raj | New Delhi | Updated: June 21, 2017 12:47 pm
delhi high court, mentally challenged girl, music loving Delhi High Court (File)

Observing that it was “a strange case where the parents of a woman were trying to declare their daughter mentally unsound”, the Delhi High Court has directed the police to file an “exhaustive” inquiry — entrusted to an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, and “under the direct supervision of the Commissioner of Police” — in the case.

The matter pertains to a 23-year-old woman, who was allegedly forcibly taken away by her parents — on the ground of providing her treatment for purported mental disorder — from the residence of her music teacher, where she had decided to stay following a fallout with her parents.

“It is incomprehensible that the police acted to facilitate the illegal taking away of an adult person against her wishes from where she was staying without even making a basic inquiry,” said a bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice C Hari Shankar, adding, it was “even more strange” the a team comprising of a doctor, a coordinator and two nurses of a private hospital also accompanied the parents and facilitated the forcible taking away. The court also said that a “large number of illegalities were committed with the assistance of police, which required a thorough inquiry”.

The bench said apart from the police, the conduct of the doctors of the private hospital was “also fraught with illegalities”. Allowing the woman to be “rightaway allowed” to go the petitioners’ residence, the court directed police to submit the inquiry report in four weeks. Notices were issued to the hospital staff and doctor. The parents were directed to submit an affidavit stating they would “not interfere in the peaceful life” or “harass” their daughter. The matter has been posted for hearing on July 7.

According to the petitioners — a Hindustani vocalist and his wife — the woman wanted to pursue a career in music. She moved into the petitioners’ residence after becoming an adult as she was unable to get along with her family. Her parents then filed a complaint in a city court questioning her decision to leave as she was allegedly suffering from depression. The court, in April 2015, dismissed the application saying the woman was not suffering from any ailment which could “incapacitate her to take decision”. The parents then moved the Delhi High Court, which dismissed the petition as withdrawn in July 2016, they said.

Based on the directions of the court, police then produced her. The bench then conducted a chamber meeting, after which it said the woman was “clear and cogent”, and did not wish to return to her parents. It also noted that she had said that she was beaten and forcibly taken away.

The police had submitted a status report which said the parents had informed police that they were picking up their daughter by ambulance for appropriate medical treatment. Later, a PCR call was received that a “girl was taken away forcibly in an ambulance.” After visiting the private hospital, police were told that the patient was unfit for statement.

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