SC seeks details of all shelter homes

| | New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed serious concern over the recent cases of rape and sexual abuse of women at shelter homes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and directed the Centre to place data on facilities provided at all childcare homes in the country by August 21.

The court, hearing a PIL on instances of sexual abuse of children in orphanages, further directed the Ministry of Women and Child Development to state how the funds were being utilised and whether a performance audit was carried out on these homes.

The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur was shocked to see the prevailing state of affairs after a news report indicated that 26 women were missing from a shelter home at Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh.

“Tell us what is happening,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta. “We read so many women have been missing in Pratapgarh. How do we stop these things, when will it stop,” Justice Lokur asked. Besides Pratapgarh, incidents of rape and sexual abuse of women and girls have occurred at shelter homes run by NGOs in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and Deoria (UP).

Amicus curiae Aparna Bhatt told the bench that the Centre is required to get social audit done by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of all child care institutions (CCI). The counsel representing the NCPCR said that the Commission was not allowed to conduct social audits in six states which included Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, besides Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram.

“The fact that they are not allowing NCPCR to do social audit shows that there is something to hide,” the amicus said, adding that a management information software (MIS) was supposed to be developed where complete database of children along with the facilities provided to them at CCIs was required to be updated but the Centre has not filed the details of what was going on.

The NCPCR counsel informed the Court that a social audit of CCIs is taking place. But the bench remarked, “The number of social audits is not important. What is important is the quality of these social audits.”



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