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SC asks Bihar Govt for action taken report against erring officials in Muzaffarpur shelter home case

ANI | Updated: Mar 23, 2022 14:58 IST

New Delhi [India], March 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Bihar Government to file a report about action taken on an application seeking departmental action against some erring officials in the Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case.
The Bihar Government informed the apex court that action has been taken against erring officials as per Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recommendations.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana asked Bihar Government to file an action taken report and listed the matter after two weeks.
Appearing for Bihar Government, advocate Manish Kumar told the court action has been taken aginst erring officials as per CBI recommendations. He also submitted that he would file the action taken report in this case in a sealed cover. The Court questioned why the report has to be filed in a sealed cover.
The counsel of Bihar Government replied that it had submitted these reports only in sealed cover before this court under orders of the apex court and the report concerned juvenile girls.
The Court was hearing an application filed by Bihar based journalist Nivedita Jha, seeking direction to Bihar Government to file an Action Taken Report pursuant to the recommendations of the CBI to initiate disciplinary proceedings against erring officers and blacklisting of NGOs mentioned in the petition.
Advocate Shoeb Alam was representing the petition in the matter. The application was filed through advocate Fauzia Shakil.
According to the application, the petitioner had filed a petition earlier wherein the top court passed a slew of directions and orders in the matter relating to the widespread and persistent abuse of female inmates of shelter homes in Bihar. By its order dated November 28, 2018, the top court had directed the CBI to investigate the affairs of 16 shelter homes in Bihar.
Thereafter, the CBI took over the investigation and has submitted chargesheets in 16 shelter home cases other than the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home wherein the trial was concluded and many persons were convicted.
The applicant mentioned that post conclusion of the investigation and filing of chargesheets in various cases, the CBI had also recommended for departmental action to be taken against many District Magistrates, officials of the State Governments, etc. and also recommended blacklisting of several NGOs that were running these shelter homes.
As per the status report filed by the CBI, the agency upon conclusion of investigation had recommended departmental action against 25 District Magistrates and 37 government officers.
"Despite considerable passage of time since such recommendations, neither is there a status report filed disclosing the action taken against these officials nor is there any information publicly available, which demonstrates if and what action (if any) was taken by Respondent No.1 (Bihar Government) against the erring officials," the applicant said.
The applicant said that the problem is perpetuating despite the previous intervention of the apex court due to the absence of steps taken pursuant to the CBI recommendations and due to the lack of effective measures being put in place by the state of Bihar.
"It is further evident that the respondent state and its officers by their acts of omission and commission are not effectively implementing the provisions of JJ Act and are failing in their duty to check the sexual abuse of hapless and destitute inmates of state-run shelter homes," the applicant said.
The Muzzafarpur shelter home incident had come to light in 2018 after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) filed an affidavit detailing horrifying sexual abuse cases at the shelter homes. (ANI)