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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

SC allows 8 Bihar shelter home girls to be reunited with families

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Bihar government to take steps to unite eight girls in the shelter home case with their families.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2019 01:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
SC directs Bihar govt to support 8 girls by providing financial and medical assistance.
SC directs Bihar govt to support 8 girls by providing financial and medical assistance.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed eight of the 44 girls, who were victims of alleged sexual and physical abuse at a Muzaffarpur shelter home, to be reunited with their families.

The eight girls were found to be fit for rehabilitation by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’s (TISS) Koshish project.

A three-judge bench headed by justice NV Ramana also directed the state Bihar to ascertain the compensation to be paid to the girls under relevant schemes.

The bench also asked TISS to submit a status report on the condition of the remaining girls in two months.

The Koshish project report, given to the court in a sealed envelop was prepared after TISS undertook a field study, and met the girls and their families to chalk out a rehabilitation plan for the inmates.To begin with, it suggested sending eight girls back to their families.

The Court also took on record that Bihar has readily agreed to provide financial, educational and medical assistance to the girls.

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of reports of alleged sexual assault on the girls logded at the Muzaffarpur shelter home unearthed by TISS when the Mumbai-based institute conducted a survey in the region in May 2018.

On the court’s direction, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the criminal case registered in connection with the incident.

The criminal trial against 21 accused, including the kingpin Brajesh Thakur, charge-sheeted by the CBI for alleged sexual and physical assault on the inmates, was also transferred to the Capital subsequent to top court’s orders.

On Thursday the court agreed with the TISS lawyer, Vrinda Grover, that experts from Koshish should closely interact with the victims to help them out of their trauma. The outreach will include studying the circumstances under which the girls were separated from their families, and would help TISS volunteers to assess whether the families would be receptive to taking the children back home.

TISS will look into the social and cultural environment in which the families live, and whether that would be conducive to the rehabilitation of the victims.

“We had requested the Supreme Court to allow the girls to reunite with their parents. We welcome the decision of the apex court and we shall abide by it in letter and spirit. The TISS has prepared a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the girls and we hope they are able to join the mainstream soon,” said Atul Prasad, additional chief secretary, social welfare department, Bihar.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 11:55 IST