Shelter home case: SC notice to Bihar, CBI on Patna HC order banning media

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notices to the Bihar government and the CBI on a plea challenging a Patna High Court order restraining the media from reporting on the investigation into Muzaffarpur shelter home case where several women were allegedly raped and sexually abused.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked Bihar government and the CBI, which is investigating the case to file their response to the petition and listed the matter for September 18.

The bench was informed that the Patna High Court had on August 29 passed an order appointing a lady advocate as an amicus in the case pending there and asked her to visit the place where the alleged victims are staying kept and interview them for the purpose of their rehabilitation.

The apex court stayed the appointment of the amicus.

The petition was filed by a Patna-based journalist through advocate Fauzia Shakil challenging the Patna High Court order restraining the media from reporting about the investigation into Muzaffarpur shelter home case.

The incident of alleged rape and sexual assault of women over a period of time in the NGO-run shelter home at Muzaffarpur had come to light after a social audit was conducted by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

The apex court had earlier taken cognisance of the incident after a letter was written by Patna resident Ranvijay Kumar highlighting the issue of repeated interviews of the alleged victims of Muzaffarpur shelter home being published and aired.

Over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur, the chief of the state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by TISS to the state's social welfare department.

An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. The probe has now been taken over by the CBI.

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