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Unregulated de-addiction centres come under scanner

Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi, DH News Service, Sep 25 2017, 10:14 IST

Delhi HC decides to put in place regulatory mechanism

Unregulated de-addiction centres being run here even without a qualified counsellor and at times serving as private jails for patients have caught the attention of the Delhi High Court. PTI file photo

Unregulated de-addiction centres being run here even without a qualified counsellor and at times serving as private jails for patients have caught the attention of the Delhi High Court. PTI file photo

Unregulated de-addiction centres being run here even without a qualified counsellor and at times serving as private jails for patients have caught the attention of the Delhi High Court.

Examining the state of affairs at one centre, a bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar was shocked to note that most of the persons stand admitted in such centres without the consent.

“It remains unclear as to whether it is a de-addiction centre, an old-age home, a guest house or a place to park people, who are not wanted by their immediate families,” the court said.

“Primefacie, we are also of the view that there is no mechanism or system in place for regulation of such an institute,” the court said.

There is no permanent doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or qualified counsellor nor any kind of medical facilities available in the centre, it further noted.

The court appointed advocate Ramesh Mishra as a local commissioner to visit 'Vinayak Foundation', a de-addiction centre, here.

In his report, Mishra pointed out that most of the inmates were admitted without their own choice. Besides, the condition of the house is totally unhygienic and the food quality is dismal and unhealthy. He also found that minors, old age, and persons with psychiatric issues, alcoholic and drug addicts are kept at one place with least regard to their variant needs. The inmates were also given physical torture, corporal punishments and sexual abuse. Some blamed their family members for keeping them in private prison in order to avoid them.

“Prima facie, it appears that no permission/license has been obtained from either the Delhi Police and/or any of the Municipal Corporations and/or from the Health Department, or any other department,” the court said, after going through the local commissioner's report.

“Our fear is that there may be many of such institutes all over the capital, and knowingly or unknowingly, they are being allowed to run, while the rights of persons, who have been forcibly admitted, are being trampled,” the bench said.

Finding that the issue involved is of larger public interest and touch the life and liberty of all sections of the society, the court directed Delhi's Chief Secretary to convene a meeting of secretaries other departments to decide about putting in place a regulatory mechanism for such kind of “illegal and unregulated Nasha Mukti Kendras”.

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