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Woman Who 'Enslaved' Minor Arrested, Lawyers Raise Questions on FIR

The minor victim, who hails from Bihar, tried to escape physical and mental abuse by jumping off the 11th floor of Kanishka Towers on Wednesday morning.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:October 5, 2017, 5:53 PM IST
Woman Who 'Enslaved' Minor Arrested, Lawyers Raise Questions on FIR
The minor girl after being rescued by the residents of Kanishka Towers in Faridabad. (News18)
New Delhi: Hours after a 13-year-old girl was rescued from Faridabad, her 23-year-old employer has been arrested for exploiting a child labourer under Juvenile Justice Act. The 23-year-old, identified as Sneha, is a student of computer science at a private university in Faridabad.

The minor victim, who hails from Bihar, tried to escape physical and mental abuse by jumping off the 11th floor of Kanishka Towers on Wednesday morning. In a lucky escape, she got stuck in a bird net on the 10th-floor balcony. The girl was rescued after being trapped for several hours. She displayed grievous injuries on her body.

The police have booked the accused under Section 75 and Section 79 of the Juvenile Justice Act. She has been lodged at the Faridabad District Jail (Neemka Jail). Section 75 of the JJ Act deals with punishment regarding cruelty to a minor and has a punishment term which may extend to three years, or with fine of one lakh rupees, or both. Section 79 of the JJ Act deals with punishment when a child employee is exploited and has a punishment term of a rigorous imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine of one lakh rupees.

SHO Balbir Singh of the Sarai Thana, Faridabad, under whom investigations are currently underway had told News18 that “the girl did not attempt suicide by jumping off the 11th floor and the injury marks on her body were old.”

Did Faridabad Police File Weak FIR?

The FIR filed by a group of residents states the accused had “tortured” the victim forcing the latter to escape by jumping off the house’s balcony on the 11th floor. But police haven’t mentioned the injury marks on the girl’s body in the FIR.

When questioned, Balbir Singh said this complaint would serve the purpose to “stop such atrocities against a minor child and also stop bonded labour.”

However, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who heads Human Rights Law Network, said “there was a grave omission in the FIR as the part dealing with physical injuries was not mentioned.”

“The JJ Act is an addition to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Sections in the IPC which deal with torture and grievous hurt need to be looked into. Every special Act has to be read with the IPC and this must be brought to the notice of the SHO looking into the matter. Moreover, the fact that the FIR does not mention in detail about the injury suffered by the girl is a grave omission and must be looked into,” Gonsalves told News18.

Additionally, activist Nirmal Singh who works towards the rescue of bonded laborers told News18 that if the accused had got the minor girl from Patna to work at her place, as alleged by residents, then a “case under Section 370 of the IPC could be made out which is a punishment for bonded labour. “This Section should be added too. We are also writing to the SHO.”

However, SHO Balbir Singh told News18 that there was enough time to add Sections against the accused and the part about the injuries will only be added after the receipt of the medical report.

“The accused now has been sent to the Neemka Jail in Faridabad and Sections of IPC can be added over next two months. The medical report that we have received is handwritten and we are now waiting for the computer-typed copy,” said SHO Singh.

When asked, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said it will take up the matter with the district magistrate. “We are looking into the incident and if we see a lacuna in the process, we will intervene. We will intimidate the district magistrate and make sure that the girl is compensated and given medical attention. We are speaking to the chairperson of the child welfare committee to understand how the case is proceeding,” said Yashwant Jain, Member Child Labour, Laws related to children, NCPCR.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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