Ex-RAW official disrobes in court, sent for mental check-up (Second Lead)

January 20th, 2011 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) A former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) woman official, who had attempted suicide in front of the prime minister’s office two years back, Thursday stumped the Delhi High Court by disrobing inside a courtroom, prompting the judge to order her mental health check-up.Nisha Bhatia, around 48, removed her upper garment before Justice Ajit Bharihoke about 10.45 a.m. She was restrained by women constables. She tried to repeat the act later in the day.

“The behaviour of the petitioner (Nisha Priya Bhatia) in baring herself in the open court is highly deplorable and it gives an impression that she is not mentally sound. It is not a case of solitary instance but she, even in the post-lunch session, tried to indulge in the same act, which is not expected from a normal person,” Justice Bharihoke said, while ordering her mental health check-up.

“Her conduct, considered in the background of the case registered against her under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code wherein she has been chargesheeted for having attempted to commit suicide in front of the prime minister’s office, leaves a lingering doubt in the minds about her mental condition,” he added.

The court, which had ordered her detention in the forenoon when she took off her jacket and bared herself after the hearing on her case was adjourned, asked police to take her to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) for a check up.

Bhatia created a ruckus in the court as the judge adjourned the hearing on her petition against Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Ajay Pandey and Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Pritam Singh.

Bhatia, who once headed the training cell of the Research and Analysis Wing, had filed a petition against lower court judges alleging that she was harassed and humiliated outside their courts. She said the court was helping Ashok Chaturvedi, her boss and former secretary of RAW.

“Appropriate action against ACMM amd MM must be taken as they are biased and unprofessional while handling the matter,” Bhatia said.

She accused Chaturvedi of sexual harassment. She accused him of calling her into his office at odd times and passing lewd remarks, a charge denied by Chaturvedi.

Following the court order, when Bhatia was being taken away she broke down saying: “Please help me. I have got three school-going children.”

A woman lawyer came to her rescue and pleaded for her release on the ground that she has to pick up her daughter from a school.

Justice Bharihoke then decided to hear the matter in his chamber and remarked: “I will send her to jail. She has also created a lot of problem in the court of ACMM, I think she is a mentally-deranged woman.”

As Bhatia repeated her act during the in-camera proceedings as well, the court decided to send her to a hospital for check up. “Bhatia to be taken forthwith by the SHO (station house officer) concerned under the escort of lady constables and produce her before the medical superintendent of the IHBAS,” said the court.

“She will be admitted there to carry out a complete check-up. The report about her mental condition be submitted in the court before the next date of hearing that is on Feb 28,” Justice Bharihoke said.

The court said: “She shall be free to go back if she is not suffering from a mental disorder, which necessitates her detention in a hospital for psychiatric treatment with a view to ensure her safety and for the protection of others.”

Bhatia in August 2008 tried to commit suicide outside the prime minister’s office and was termed as mentally unstable by the cabinet secretariat.

She alleged that she had been framed in various criminal cases and that her services had been terminated.

After Bhatia had attempted suicide, a cabinet secretariat statement issued Aug 19, 2008, said that while working as a director in the secretariat in 2007, Bhatia had lodged a complaint alleging sexual harassment by the joint secretary.

The release said the complaint was enquired into by a committee constituted as per apex court guidelines. But Bhatia had withdrawn her complaint. She was given several opportunities to present her case but she refused to cooperate with the committee, the release said.

Despite this, the committee completed its probe May 19, 2008 and found that her allegations could not be substantiated.

The committee also found that her behaviour on a number of occasions appeared to indicate a disturbed state of mind and recommended medical counselling for her.

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