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Apex court takes Bihar govt to task over 'selective FIRs'

Apex court takes Bihar govt to task over selective FIRs
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday termed as "very shameful" and "inhuman" the conduct of Bihar government in not taking appropriate action following the allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children at several shelter homes and favoured a CBI investigation in these matters.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said the state was "very soft" and "very selective" in registering FIRs against the perpetrators and asked the Bihar government whether these children were not the citizens of this country.

The apex court also asked the counsel appearing for the Bihar government as to why FIRs have not been lodged under section 377 (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) despite there being allegations that children were sodomised at the shelter homes.

"What are you doing? This is very shameful. You may have filed a detailed affidavit (in the court), but if a child is sodomised, you cannot say that it is nothing. How can you do this? This is inhuman," the bench, also comprising justices S A Nazeer and Deepak Gupta told the state's counsel.

During the hearing, Justice Gupta observed, "Every time I read this file, I am hit by the tragedy of the case. It is tragic."

The bench said after going through the allegations and the manner in which state police was dealing with them, "We are of the view that the state police is not doing its job as is expected. We want the CBI to deal with these allegations."

The counsel representing the CBI, which is already probing the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in Bihar where several women inmates were allegedly raped and sexually abused, said he would seek instructions on the issue by Wednesday.

"You take instructions. You (CBI) will have to investigate all this. It appears there is much more into it," the bench told the CBI's counsel orally and posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday.

The counsel appearing for Bihar assured the court that state would take all appropriate action in the matter and said they would rectify all the mistakes.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade and lawyer Fauzia Shakil, representing the petitioner who has sought lodging of FIRs and court-monitored probe by an independent agency into alleged physical and sexual abuse of inmates in 14 shelter homes in Bihar, claimed that the state was going "soft" in these cases, and FIRs have been lodged under less heinous offences.

Naphade referred to the report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and said that offence under section 377 of IPC was made out as several children were sodomised in the shelter homes.

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