HC tells Rohini ashram's counsel to leave court
New Delhi: Irked by Rohini-based ashram Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya's counsel's submission that women are the gateway to hell, the Delhi High Court on Monday ordered the advocate to leave the courtroom, reminding him to mind his language.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked the counsel for the Rohini-based ashram why women and girls were kept captive in the ashram.
Responding to the court's query, the counsel cited Shankaracharya's statement, "Nari nark ka dwar hai (Women are gateway to hell)."
Irritated Justice Mittal told him to mind his language.
"This is court room. This is not your spiritual class," the court said and asked him to leave the courtroom.
The court listed the matter for February 8, asking the Rohini-based ashram to respond on using "Vishwa Vidyalaya" in the name of its spiritual institute.
Raising questions on the legality of using "Vishwa Vidyalaya" (University), the court cited the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act and said that "University" means an institute established or incorporated by or under a central act, a provincial act or a state act.
The court asked whether the institute followed the norms prescribed by the UGC but the ashram's counsel failed to give a satisfactory reply and sought more time.
The counsel said that the ashram is a spiritual institute.
The court told the counsel to follow the law as the ashram is not a university and also asked the counsel to file a detailed reply on the name and address of all centres.
Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Delhi High Court that a look out circular (LOC) has been issued against Virendra Dev Dixit, founder of the ashram where girls and women were allegedly being kept in illegal confinement in the name of religious preaching.
The CBI also told the division bench that all possible measures had been taken to trace Dixit, who is on the run.
All the centres are under surveillance and an investigation is under way, the CBI said and sought a month's time to submit a further report, saying it is in the process of examining witnesses.
The CBI has registered three cases against Dixit for allegedly keeping several women and minor girls hostage at his ashram here.
Earlier, the High Court had transferred the case from the police to the CBI and asked the agency to forthwith set up a special investigation team to probe various FIRs of girls and women who were allegedly lured into the ashram on the pretext of spiritual guidance but then raped.
The Delhi High Court had in December 2017 appointed a committee for inspecting the institute and directed an officer, not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, to conduct an inspection of the ashram. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal was also asked to accompany the police during the inspection.
The committee had told the court that the girls and women were kept in the Ashram in "unhygienic and animal-like conditions with no privacy even for bathing".
The court was hearing a plea filed by NGO Foundation for Social Empowerment.
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