The Delhi High Court has agreed to quash a complaint against a couple, who had employed a minor for household work, and directed them to plant 100 trees and pay Rs. 1.5 lakh to the victim.
Justice Najmi Waziri also directed two other persons, who were agents and through whom the minor girl was employed at the couple's house, to offer manual labour for plantation and care of the trees.
The court imposed a fine of Rs. 1.5 lakh on the couple and Rs. 10,000 each on the two agents and directed that the amount be paid to the minor.
"In the circumstances, the FIR and all proceedings emanating from there are quashed subject to costs of Rs. 1.5 lakh to be paid by petitioners No. 1 and 2 (couple) to respondent No.2 (victim)...," the court said.
The court noted that as an expression of contrition for causing unnecessary burden upon the administrative machinery engaged in the maintenance of law and order, the couple submitted they wanted to do some social work.
It directed them to plant 50 trees each in Delhi and were asked to report to the deputy conservator of forests (south) who shall assign them duties of planting the trees in the Central Ridge for 10 working days in compensatory afforestation or other schemes.
The court said the trees shall be of deciduous indigenous variety with a nursery age of three-and-a-half years and a height of at least six feet.
Depending upon the soil type and topography, the court said the forest officer may consider plantation of Gular (Cluster Fig), Kadamba (Burflower Tree), Pilkhan (White Fig), Jaamun (Black Plum), Bargad (Banyan Tree), Mango,
Amaltas (Golden Shower), Mahua (Butter Tree), Putranjiva, Badh, Sagwan (Teak Wood), Safed Siris (Albizia Procera), Kala Siris, Anjeer, Kathal (Jackfruit), Palash, Arni, Bistendu, Rohida and Medshingi.
Regarding the two agents, the court said as an expression of their contrition and remorse for having put the child through pain, they undertake to offer manual labour for the plantation and care of the trees.
The deputy conservator of forest (south) would file an affidavit of compliance along with pictures of plantation on or before March 25 before the court.
A complaint was lodged at the Rajouri Garden police station for the offences of voluntarily causing hurt, unlawful compulsory labour under the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
It was alleged that the minor was kept in illegal confinement for about three months for household labour and she was brought to Delhi by these two agents, apparently with the consent of the victim's father.
She was employed by the couple for household work and was allegedly physically assaulted whenever she made a mistake and was never paid any money for the period of her work, it was alleged.
The matter was also reported to the Child Welfare Committee, which had directed the employers to pay wages and compensation to the victim.