Muzaffarpur shelter home: SC allows seven more girls to be restored with their families

The top court had earlier allowed eight girls, out of 44 in all, to be reunited their families but only six of them have been able to do so.

Published: 09th November 2019 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2019 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

Police investigate the site where a rape victim was allegedly buried at a government shelter home in Muzaffarpur. (Photo | File/PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday allowed seven more girls, who were at the Muzaffarpur shelter home where allegations of rampant sexual assault surfaced last year, to reunite with their families.

The top court had earlier allowed eight girls, out of 44 in all, to be reunited their families but only six of them have been able to do so.

'Koshish' -- a field action project of TISS -- in its report told the court that 12 more girls besides these 15 girls have been identified to be restored with their families.

Several girls were sexually assaulted at the NGO-run shelter home in Bihar.

The issue had come to light following a report by TISS, which had conducted a social audit.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Krishna Murari said that as and when their families are identified and the verification done, these girls can be reunited with them.

Counsel for TISS told the bench that out of the eight girls only six girls have been so far restored with their families.

It asked the State Child Protection Society (SCPS) of West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Punjab to provide all necessary help to identify and verify the family members of the girls.

The bench clarified that it cannot monitor the restoration on day to day basis but in case of any problem, the matter could be mentioned for hearing.

"We have already taken a broad view. The Supreme Court cannot monitor each and everything on a day to day basis. If there is any problem, then the matter can be mentioned for hearing," the bench said.

On September 12, the apex court had allowed eight of the 44 girls of Muzaffarpur shelter home to be reunited with their families.

The top court had directed the Bihar government to provide all necessary financial and medical assistance to these eight girls identified by 'Koshish' as fit for being sent to their families.

It had also directed the state government to assess the compensation liable to be paid to the girls under the victim compensation scheme and submit a report to the court in eight weeks.

The apex court's decision came after TISS filed its field action project 'Koshish' before it in a sealed cover, saying the eight girls were fit to be handed over to their families.

TISS had earlier told the court that there are total 44 girls who have been staying in four different shelter homes after the incidents of sexual assault in Muzaffarpur shelter home came to the fore.

The court was dealing with an application filed by the Bihar government seeking permission to complete the process of rehabilitation and restoring the 44 girls to their families.

The apex court had in July this year allowed 'Koshish' to interact with these children and their respective families to find out the acceptability of these children by their families and the repercussions thereupon.

The counsel appearing for Bihar had earlier told the top court that children of Muzaffarpur shelter home have been kept in different childcare institutions and some of them have started showing aggressive behaviour and also indulged in inflicting self-harm.

The apex court had in June granted three months to the CBI to complete the probe in the case, including suspected murders, and had directed it to widen the scope to investigate the "outsiders" involved in the crime.

It had also directed the CBI to probe the allegations of unnatural sexual assault under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in the Muzaffarpur case.

Besides, it had asked the CBI to probe the offences under the Information Technology Act regarding the video recordings of the alleged assault on girls at the shelter home.

The trial against 21 accused, chargesheeted by the CBI for alleged sexual and physical assault on the inmates, is going on in a trial court of Delhi.

The apex court had in February transferred the case from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi.

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