The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern at the assault of 30 minor schoolgirls, allegedly when they resisted sexual harassment attempt at Supaul in Bihar.
“If newspaper reports are true, things are not all that good. There was a skeleton being discovered in Muzaffarpur. Five days later, we have reports of girls being thrashed for resisting molestation attempts. That means a girl is not supposed to protect herself? If somebody tries to molest them, they must agree?” Justice Madan B Lokur, sitting on a two-judge bench with Justice Deepak Gupta, observed while hearing a matter related to safety of children in shelter homes.
The question rose in the wake of the Muzzafarpur shelter home child abuse case. The bench is seized of a PIL on the alleged abuse at the shelter. On the last date of hearing, the CBI had told the court that it recovered a skeleton from a cremation ground during probe.
The court had earlier summoned the Ministry of Women and Child Development to explain what steps were being taken to frame a child protection policy as directed by it.
On Monday, the court asked the official, who appeared before it, whether the Ministry will consider setting up a national agency to look into issues related to children who face abuse, including their rehabilitation.“Can you think of some kind of a national-level institute or a body where you can get experts from institutes, like Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences which are connected with child protection,” the bench asked.
The official replied that for any new institution, it will have to get the Niti Aayog and the Finance Ministry on board. “Get them on board. Tell them there is an urgency,” Justice Lokur remarked.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand said a draft of the child protection policy will be circulated in two months and an interim advisory to sensitise investigators, councillors and others dealing with cases of child victims will be submitted in three weeks.
The ministry said a social audit by NCPCR on the condition of shelter homes across the country is on. The bench said as soon as the ministry receives NCPCR’s report, it should be examined by experts appointed by the ministry.
9 held for assault
All nine accused, including three women, named in the FIR in connection with the assault on minor girls of a state-run school in Bihar have been arrested, police said, PTI reported on Monday. Thirty minors in Supaul district were beaten up by a mob after they protested against lewd remarks on a wall, allegedly written by boys of a nearby school