The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred the trial of Muzaffarpur shelter home case from Patna to a POCSO Court in Delhi. The apex court ordered the commencement of the trial within two weeks and finish hearing within six months.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also came down heavily on the CBI and Centre for transferring an officer probing the case despite the apex court’s embargo against the transfer of investigating officials. “Was cabinet committee which transferred him informed of Supreme Court embargo?” the CJI said.
Asking the CBI to explain why the probe officer, A K Sharma, was transferred, Gogoi said: “Enough is enough. We will ask Bihar Chief Secretary to appear before us. Get someone here who is conversed to what is happening in the state. You can’t let your officers to treat unfortunate children like this. Spare the children.”
The case pertains to alleged mental, physical and sexual exploitation of minor girls residing at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur. The Bihar government had referred the matter to the CBI after pressure from the Opposition. In December last year, the CBI filed a chargesheet against all the accused under the POCSO Act.
The matter had come to light in 2018 when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The audit report stated that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse.