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Audits of shelter homes across states will be conducted by October, Centre tells Supreme Court

In the wake of the recent cases of sexual abuse in shelter homes of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will conduct audits across all states by October.

The Bihar government has also given permission to NCPR to conduct social audits across the state, CNN-News18 reported.

The apex court asked the Centre about the action it has taken to deal with cases of abuse of 1,575 children living in shelter homes across the country. "We are concerned whether children living in shelter homes are being abused or looked after properly," the bench said on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court asked the Government of India to consider framing a child protection policy. It also asked the Bihar government to make public a Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) report on a social audit of shelter homes in the state.

Bihar government informed the bench on Tuesday that three bodies, including AIIMS Delhi, are examining psycho-social aspect of the girls allegedly abused at Muzaffarpur shelter home. Meanwhile, Muzaffarpur case prime accused Brajesh Thakur was sent back to prison after completion of his medical tests, ANI reported.

The Supreme Court on 10 August had reprimanded the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh governments over the cases of rape in shelter homes in the states. "What's happening everywhere in the country?" the apex court reportedly had reacted. The Supreme Court also pulled up both the state governments for not providing data on shelter homes.

The court's observations had come a day after at least 26 women were found missing from two shelter homes in Pratapgarh during surprise checks conducted by the district administration.

The Supreme Court on 7 August, while hearing the case of the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape cases, had also expressed concern over incidents of rape in India and said that women are being raped "left, right, and centre". The apex court referred to National Crime Records Bureau data which says that a woman is raped every six hours in the country.

A bench comprising Justices MB Lokur, Deepak Gupta and KM Joseph pulled up the Bihar government for funding an NGO which ran the shelter home in Muzaffarpur where girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused.

The possibility of sexual exploitation of the girls at the shelter was first highlighted in an audit report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), submitted to the state social welfare department in April. Medical examination of the girls later confirmed that 34, of the total 42, were sexually abused.

On 12 August,  two inmates of a state-run shelter home in Bihar died under unknown circumstances, a day after a man was arrested for allegedly asking the inmates of the home to escape by luring them with gifts. The women were staying at 'Aasra' shelter home in Nepali Nagar locality of the city.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Aug 14, 2018 18:05:35 IST