12 September 2019
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered eight girls, who were among the victims of sexual assault in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, to be restored to their families.
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana also 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 trial of the 21 accused, charge sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged sexual and physical assault on the inmates, is on-going in a Delhi court.
The apex court order comes after the Tata Institute for Social Sciences' (TISS) field action project 'Koshish' submitted a report on the restoration of the girls to their families. A total of 44 girls were victims in the shelter home abuse case, which is currently being probed by the CBI.
Koshish submitted its report in a sealed cover, vouching that the eight girls were fit for repatriation.
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 recommending eight girls be sent back to their families.
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.
In July, Koshish had told the court its outreach programme would include documenting circumstances under which the girls got estranged from their families. It also submitted before the court that its experts will probe whether the families would take a hostile attitude to the girls, after becoming aware of the physical ordeal undergone by the victims at the shelter home.
The top court had, in June, granted three months to the CBI to complete the probe and widen its scope to investigate the role of "outsiders". It also directed the CBI to probe the allegations of unnatural sexual assault and offences in connection with the video recordings of the alleged assault on the girls.