The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, transferred all cases related to sexual abuses at shelter homes, to the CBI. Besides the Muzffarpur case, 16 more cases will now be probed by the CBI. The top court has directed the investigating agency to the file the status reports on January 31.
The Bihar government pleaded with the court to give them a week's time to file the status report and said, if all cases are handed over to the CBI, the state police will lose credibility and no one will trust them.
Responding to the Bihar government, the Supreme Court said, "If the state had done its duty properly then every matter didn't have to go to the CBI...the Bihar police did not do its job as expected."
The top court also asked the CBI not to change the team probing the cases but add more officers to the existing team. The charge sheet in Muzaffarpur case will be filed on December 7, CBI told the court and the matter will again be taken up on December 12.
Taking a very serious stance, the Supreme Court has been regularly hearing the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape cases for the last one month. On several occasions the court ripped into the Bihar police for its shoddy investigation, often accusing it of going slow on the accused, who are politically powerful people.
Yesterday, the court slammed the state for not filing cases under the relevant law on allegations of unnatural sex assault on children at shelter homes. "The Bihar government has registered cases only for minimum offence. If you haven't registered cases under 377, then how will you investigate?" said the bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Abdul Nazeer. "...Are we doing any favour to these children? Are they not citizens of this country," the bench said. Though the Supreme Court has partially struck down Section 377, but non-consensual sex and "carnal intercourse with children and animals" continue to be offences.
Over 40 young girls were sexually abused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home. The sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) to the state's social welfare department in April. The first case was filed on May 31 against 11 people, including Brajesh Thakur, who ran the home.
After absconding for weeks, former Bihar minister Manju Verma, linked to the shelter home rape cases, surrendered in a court in Begusarai on November 20. She has been sent to judicial custody till December 1.