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Delhi High Court directs Delhi government to take over ashram of self-styled godman, accused of confining, raping more than 100 women – India Legal

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Health department of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to take over the management and running of an ashram owned by a self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dixit, where over 160 women were alleged to be living in ‘inhumane’ and ‘animal-like’ conditions.
A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla passed the order on a petition filed by the parents of one of the inmates housed in the facility.
Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy apprised the Court that the parents wanted to meet their daughter, who was suffering from severe backache, but they were not being allowed to do so.
As per the Counsel for the petitioner, the ashram was owned by Dixit, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI and has at least 10 cases pending against him.
Dixit was a follower of the Brahma Kumaris, who later founded his own organisation named Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya.
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He has been charged of confining and sexually exploiting over 100 women at his huge ashram in Delhi’s Rohini area.
The self-styled godman hogged the limelight in December 2018, when over 40 women were rescued from his ashram by Delhi Police. Since then, Dixit has been absconding. The case is now being investigated by the CBI.
The Court finds it difficult to accept that the inmates of the institution are in their full senses or that they are there living on their own free will and not under any coercion or undue influence, noted the Bench.
It said this was sheer nonsense. In broad daylight, in a city like Delhi, someone was doing this nonsense. “Who is running it in his (Dixit) absence?” asked the Court.
“We put the respondent institution to notice through the daughter of the petitioner, who claims to be equally managing the institution, to showcause as to why we should not proceed to direct the takeover of the institution”
-observed the High Court.
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As an apprehension was expressed by the petitioner that the women from the ashram may be relocated to other facilities following the Court’s stern view, the Bench directed the District Police Commissioner to ensure that inmates were not taken out or removed from the facility in the meantime.
The Bench allowed the petitioner to meet their daughter before the next date of hearing.
The High Court directed the Delhi Police to provide adequate safety to the parents and facilitate the meeting.
The case will now considered on Thursday along with a similar petition that deals with the same ashram and its functioning.
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