A domestic help, who was allegedly assaulted and illegally confined by her employer, today moved the Delhi High Court challenging the acquittal of a placement agency owner, whom she had accused of trafficking her from Jharkhand to Delhi.
While the employer woman Vandana Dhir was held guilty of voluntarily causing hurt to the victim by dangerous weapons or means, the placement agency owner Dorothi was acquitted under the Bonded Labour Act by the trial court in February this year.
Today, Justice Mukta Gupta sought response of the State and Dorothi on the plea of victim, a resident of Jharkhand, in which she has claimed that the acquittal had resulted in grave injustice to her as she had been a victim of trafficking by Dorothi when she was a minor and would set a dangerous precedent.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on January 7 next year.
The victim was 15 years old when she was allegedly trafficked and brought to Delhi. She was 18 years old when she was rescued by a joint team of NGO Shakti Vahini and Delhi Police from Dhir's residence.
He argued that Dorothi not only trafficked the victim, but violated her fundamental rights, including right to life, as she was brutally beaten up and abused by Dhir.
"Acquitting Dorothi results in letting off of the most important link in the chain of trafficking of the victim that has destroyed her life....
"The impugned judgement also sets a very dangerous precedent, in as much as the benefit that has been given to Dorothi by the trial court under a misplaced application of the Bonded Labour Act, 1976, would result in other traffickers being acquitted too, thereby defeating the very objective of the Act," the appeal, filed through advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, said.
"The placement agency cannot be absolved of its liability by merely stating that the atrocities were carried out by the home owner," it said.
The incident dates back to September 30, 2013, when the victim was rescued from Dhir's Vasant Kunj home where she had been working as a domestic help and was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with injuries.
The plea alleged that through the years, the victim was brutally assaulted by Dhir and abused and exploited by Dorothi and she was neither paid salary nor allowed to contact her family in Jharkhand.
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