The Supreme Court on Thursday took note of the alleged rapes in a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and imposed a blanket ban on showing images (hidden or morphed) of minor victims.
A bench of justice MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta took cognisance of the matter on its own and expressed concern that the alleged victims of sexual assault at the shelter home were subjected to media interviews again and again.
It asked the media not to interview the victims, saying they cannot be compelled to relive the trauma repeatedly.
The top court said the probe agency would take the help of professional councillors and qualified child psychiatrist to question the victims.
The top court also issued notices to the Bihar government, Women and Child Development ministry and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
The Bihar government has been asked to give the status of investigation in the case, While TISS has been asked to submit a copy of the audit that had unearthed the whole matter..
TISS, in May this year, had uncovered the sexual abuse scam while doing a social audit of 110 institutions in Bihar.
More than 30 girls were allegedly raped and tortured at a government-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur district, from where 42 girls were rescued earlier this month. A medical board of Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in June had confirmed the sexual abuse of a majority of the girls of the ‘Balika Grih’. The Nitish Kumar-led government is under pressure from opposition parties in the state to act against the culprits and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has even accused it of shielding the culprits in the case.
Opposition parties had raised the case in the Lok Sabha and Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan demanded a probe. Union home minister Rajnath Singh had said it was a serious issue.“If there is a recommendation from the state government, the Centre will consider ordering a CBI probe,” Singh had said during Zero Hour.
And, an aggressive opposition led by RJD, Congress and CPI-ML(Liberation) disrupted the proceedings in the Bihar assembly and pressed for their demand for a CBI probe into the sexual exploitation of the inmates of Muzaffarpur shelter home.
Yadav, Leader of opposition in the Bihar legislative assembly, also demanded a CBI inquiry under the Patna high court’s watch and slammed the state government for rejecting the central probe. The RJD leader accused that the leaders of the ruling Janata Dal(United) were involved in the case.
He also wondered about the reason behind the state government’s opposition to an impartial probe by the CBI if the Centre was willing to get it done. He alleged that chief minister Kumar had gone to campaign during the 1995 assembly elections for the main accused in the case.