Muzaffarpur shelter case: SC nod for restoring 7 girls to families

New Delhi, Nov 8 : The Supreme Court on Friday allowed seven girls, who were victims of alleged sexual assault at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, to reunite with their families. The issue had come to light in a social audit conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

In September, the apex court had allowed eight girls, out of 44, to be reunited with their families. After verification, only six of them were reunited. As Koshish, a field project of TISS, now informed the apex court that some more girls have been identified for reuniting with their families, a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said this can be done after verification of their families.

The counsel for Koshish asked the State Child Protection Society (SCPS) of West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Punjab to provide assistance in the process of verification of victims’ families. The court observed it has already taken a larger view on the matter and daily monitoring is not possible, therefore, if any issue surfaces, then it can be mentioned before the court.

In September, a bench headed by Justice Ramana had ordered the Bihar government to process the compensation/entitlement as per the process, and also take care of the overall aid — medical, educational, financial and development for the victims and report back to it on the matter.

The apex court order came after Koshish submitted a report, in a sealed cover, on the restoration of the girls to their families.

The apex court, in July, permitted Koshish to draw out a rehabilitation plan for girls, which included meeting their families. The counsel appearing for Koshish drew the court’s attention on the condition of families of the victims, stressing on the trauma, and submitted the information in a tabular form.

“Some parents are unwilling to accept them. In some cases, relatives are willing to take care. And, in some cases, parents have died and victims gave contact details of the neighbours, where verification has to be done through sarpanch. In one case, the father of the victim is speech impaired and could not talk on phone,” said the counsel.

The counsel also told the court that victims include girls with special needs, and it requires long-term care to be offered by the state government. “Some girls have become violent and some have become adults over the period,” the counsel added, insisting on individual care plan for victims.

The court has asked the state government to provide psychiatric counsel and subsequently draw out individual care plan for the victims.

Meanwhile, the trial of the 21 accused, charge sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged sexual and physical assault on the inmates, is underway in a Delhi court.

/IANS

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