Welcome shift (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Muzaffarpur shelter home trial
Mains level: Structure, organization and functioning of the departments of the
- The Supreme Court’s order transferring the trial in the
Muzaffarpur shelter home case from Bihar to a court in Delhi is a welcome
intervention to ensure justice for the children who were sexually exploited.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation had argued that the trial
would not be fair if it was held in Muzaffarpur.
- In shifting it to a court notified under the Protection of
Children from Sexual Offences Act at Saket in Delhi.
- The apex court has once again demonstrated its lack of confidence
in the Bihar government. It had transferred the investigation from the State
police to the CBI.
- Later, it asked the agency to take over the probe in respect of 16
other shelter homes for children, destitute women and senior citizens.
- These interventions had become necessary, given the apparent
apathy of the authorities in Bihar even after horrific instances of physical
and sexual exploitation came to light last year. The Bihar government asked
the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to audit the short-stay and shelter
homes, run by non-governmental organisations but funded by the government.
- Last year, TISS came up with a damning report on the unsafe
conditions in which children were staying in many shelter homes.
- The Muzaffarpur home was among the worst: many girls reported
physical and sexual violence. More than 30 girls below 17 have been sexually
Steps taken so far
- However, the subsequent response of the State government has not
inspired much confidence.
- Apart from some officials being suspended, and some of those
involved arrested, the State government did not have much to show as
stringent action. Its response came under adverse scrutiny.
- A Bench of the Supreme Court found that 11 FIRs mentioned only
minor offences, that is, “the least serious” of the offences involved.
- In the Muzaffarpur case, the court took note of the clout of
Brajesh Thakur, whose NGO ran the shelter home concerned. The girls in the
shelter identified Chandrasekhar Verma, the husband of former Social Welfare
Minister Manju Verma, as a frequent visitor.
- The Verma couple later surrendered to the authorities.
- It is disquieting and significant that the court had to order
Thakur’s transfer to a prison in Patiala to prevent him from exerting his
influence on the authorities in Bihar.
- The court is also separately monitoring the functioning of child
care homes in Bihar.
- Meanwhile, it is high time that States bestowed sufficient
attention to such institutions.
- A recent Central government committee report highlighted the
shocking inadequacies in the facilities available at most child care
institutions and homes.
- There is a strong case for a systematic scrutiny to be taken up on
an urgent basis to address the problem.
Q.1) Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary is located in which of the following
(a) Tamil Nadu
(b) Andhra Pradesh
Q.1) The transfer of the Muzaffarpur shelter home trial to Delhi is a
major step towards justice. Critically examine the statement.