New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over sexual abuse of children living in shelter homes across the country and asked the Centre what action was being taken in the cases of 1,575 minor victims.
A bench headed by Madan B Lokur referred to the data placed before it by the Centre and observed that 1,575 children, including 286 boys, have been sexually or physically abused in the shelter homes in different parts of the country.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that also comprised Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, that the government has informed the states about the abuse of 1,575 children last year itself.
"1,575 boys and girls are victims of sexual and physical abuse. What have you done about it? Which are the shelter homes where they are kept? What action the states have taken on this," the bench asked the ASG.
The ASG told the bench that she would get instruction on this issue and get back to the court. Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Bihar government, told the bench that they have no objection if the social audit report of shelter homes in the state prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was made public.
The bench directed the Bihar government to make the report public. The Bihar government also told the court that three organisations, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, were already looking into the psycho-social aspect of the girls who were allegedly raped and sexually abused at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur.
An anguished Supreme Court had on August 7 said that women and girls were getting raped "left, right and centre" across the country, as it cited the National Crime Records Bureau data on four such incidents being reported per day on an average and had stressed that action has to be taken stop such crimes.
It had termed as "horrific" the case of alleged sexual abuse of girls in an NGO-run shelter home at Muzaffarpur and pulled up the state government for funding such an institution without verifying its credentials. On August 2, the bench had said that investigation in the Muzaffarpur case be conducted with the assistance of professional counsellors or qualified child psychologists appointed in consultation with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Bangalore, TISS and AIIMS, Delhi.