Punjab and Haryana high court has constituted a four-member committee of lawyers to visit various shelter homes in Haryana to identify cases of torture or sexual abuse of Rohtak shelter home children lodged there and file a report within six weeks.
A total of 103 children residing in 'Apna Ghar' shelter home run by Jaswanti Devi's NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh at Shri Nagar Colony in Rohtak, have been shifted to places like Bahadurgarh, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Bhiwani and Panipat etc.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had conducted a surprise raid at the shelter home on May 10 after which the case had come to light. Later advocate Utsav Singh Bains had filed a public interest litigation in the high court.
A division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on Friday directed that the committee would visit the shelter home and conduct interviews of the children on the basis of which recommendations would be made as to how many children would require medical examination at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
The committee would comprise advocates Utsav Singh Bains, Anil Malhotra, Puneeti Sethi and Sudeepti Sharma. The panel members expressed their desire to the court that they would travel to Rohtak and other places from Tuesday onwards. They also told the court that they would not like to take any remuneration for the task.
The bench also issued directions to the Haryana government to make all arrangements of vehicle, board and lodging of the panel members. Directions were also issued to the state government that DSP and woman police officer of area concerned would extend every help to the panel members for smooth conduct of their work.
During the hearing of the case, Rohtak DSP Tula Ram submitted a status report before the court. A report from PGIMER was also received in a "sealed cover" regarding the medical examination of eight girls of Rohtak shelter home by a board of doctors. Reportedly, two of the eight girls were found to have been sexually exploited.
The DSP's affidavit mentioned that a special investigating team was constituted to examine the case after which seven persons, namely Jaswanti Devi, Sushma, Jai Bhagwan, Satish, Sheela, Jaswant and Veena were arrested.
During the course of investigation, it transpired that a deaf and dumb inmate was six-month pregnant, said the officer. It also came out that girls were also subjected to sexual molestation by accused Jai Bhagwan and were beaten and forcibly detained by Jaswanti. The children were sold to other persons in exchange for money under the garb of adoption and they were kept in dark about the consent of biological mothers of these children, he said.
It was submitted that 12 children were sold, out of which the whereabouts of nine have been traced by police. During investigation, it also transpired that 12 mentally challenged girls were abandoned by Jaswanti and Satish on the night of May 8 in Delhi and Jaswanti received government aid for these girls.
The case would now come up for hearing on July 11.