A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta said that since de-addiction centres are responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of its inmates, such activity ought to take place within the legal framework.
"It is accordingly directed that if there is any such centre operating in the NCT of Delhi, then it should be inspected and if found to be running without the authority of law, should immediately be shut down," the court said.
It also noted that "unwanted elders are dumped" at such places that operate in the guise of old homes.
The court directed the authorities to work out a scheme for mapping such places to ensure that no such centres, which run under the garb of rehabilitation or old age homes, operate without necessary permission and regulations.
It directed the Delhi government, the three municipal corporations, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Cantonment Board to constitute teams, comprising an authorised medical practitioner, an official of Women and Child department and a senior police officer, to carry out the mapping exercise.
It said that while shutting down such a centre, the inmates in need of rehabilitation should be provided treatment in a state-authorised establishment and those detained there without their consent be given all assistance to reach their destination of choice.
With these directions, the bench listed the matter for further hearing on December 12.
On the last date of hearing, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra and advocate Tushar Sannu told the bench that the Health department would work as the nodal agency for drawing up a regulatory framework for running of de-addiction and rehabilitation centres.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus plea moved by the brother and father of a man who was allegedly illegally detained at a city de-addiction centre where he was admitted by his wife and children on the pretext that he was an alcoholic.
While examining the matter, the court noted that the centre in question was operating without permission or licence from the police, municipal bodies or the health department.
A report by a local commissioner appointed by the court revealed that there was neither a permanent doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or qualified counsellor, nor any medical facility available at the centre where about 33 persons were admitted, that too without any register of admission.
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