Superintendent of Mankhurd shelter gets anticipatory bail

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Navjivan Sudhar Kendra's superintendent Ashwini Dighe. The court observed that charges of rape and criminal trespass are prima facie not applicable to Dighe.

The shelter in Mankhurd came into prominence after a newspaper report highlighted poor living conditions for inmates. The report also interviewed a woman, who claimed that armed men would barge in, rape and assault some of the inmates.

A two-member committee appointed by the HC also criticised the living conditions at the shelter home. Dighe approached the court for anticipatory bail after the Govandi police registered an FIR against her under various sections, including rape, trespass, destruction of evidence and criminal intimidation.

The court noted that the committee report did not speak of rape and only talked about the poor living conditions at the shelter home. Justice Abhay Thipsay observed that allegations of bad living conditions may not amount to a criminal offence, but would point to the authority not doing its job. The judge questioned whether a woman can be charged with rape, and said she can only be charged for abetment to rape.

The court has asked police to continue with the probe and submit a report by December 20.

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